Our approach to fire safety

We take the safety of our residents, staff and visitors seriously. We’ve comprehensive controls in place regarding fire safety and we review and test these on a regular basis.

The thoughts of everyone at Optivo remains with all those affected by the Grenfell fire. Since the tragedy, we’ve re-examined our safety systems to ensure we have the most robust procedures in place.

We’ve done this with the support of our residents. We have a full picture of our homes, our future liabilities and exposure to risk.

Our Board, together with our Resident Strategy Group, receive regular reports from our Director of Asset Services and ensure we’re meeting all new statutory requirements.

Complex Fire Group

We’ve set up a Complex Fire Group, which includes four residents, reporting into our Resident Strategy Group. This group challenges how we manage large and complex buildings.

Post Grenfell Tower fire checks on tower blocks

The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (formerly the DCLG - Department for Communities and Local Government) required housing providers to inspect the cladding on blocks of six storeys and over following the Grenfell tragedy.

We exceeded the DCLG’s request and checked all our freehold and agency-managed four storey blocks.
The suspected presence of Aluminium Composite Material (ACM) cladding was identified at four locations. The cladding covered no more than 20% of any of these buildings.

We have up to date Fire Risk Assessments at all four locations and these were approved by the Fire Authority.

The managing agents at one of the locations has confirmed the cladding, having undergone statutory testing, doesn’t need replacing.

With regards to the other three sites - the cladding has already been removed and replaced at one of the locations. There is no requirement to replace the cladding at the other two locations, however, we’ve made a commitment to replace this cladding by the end of the year.

Our staff have kept all residents at these sites informed of our actions and maintained an open dialogue.

Our commitment

We continue to strive for the highest standards when it comes to fire safety.

• We’ve completed all Fire Risk Assessments (FRAs) for all our blocks. And we’ve completed new FRAs for all our high rise blocks. All resulting actions from these inspections are being completed and are regularly monitored by our Health and Safety group, Operational Performance Team and Board
• We’ve validated the competency of all of our fire risk assessors who have completed FRAs on our behalf. And we’ve completed validation checks in relation to the accuracy of our FRAs
• Signed a new Primary Authority Partnership with the London Fire Brigade which will provide greater consistency when dealing with Fire Regulators
• Reviewed our major work procedures to ensure new FRAs are obtained where work could impact upon the fire integrity of our buildings.
• Joined the g15 Grenfell Response Group. Actions from this group are included within our fire action plan
• We’re restructuring our Asset Management/Services staff teams, creating a dedicated Fire Safety Team to manage and audit all aspects of fire safety overseen by our new Head of Compliance
• The Fire Service have audited our blocks over six storeys and we’ve completed all recommended actions.

If you have a concern about fire safety please contact Nick Hannam, our Fire Safety Manager, on 0800 121 60 60 or email contactus@optivo.org.uk