Hackney FRA costs have ‘hiked’ since Grenfell

Hackney FRA costs have ‘hiked’ since Grenfell

THE LONDON borough council ‘wants to start’ undertaking its own fire risk assessments (FRAs) as contractors have ‘hiked fees since Grenfell’.

Hackney Gazette reported on the council’s plan to start doing its own FRAs ‘because private firms have hiked their fees since the Grenfell Tower tragedy’. In a report published following the council’s ‘wide-scale review’ of fire safety commissioned after last June’s fire, Hackney stated that 1,823 FRAs were carried out that found 21,743 issues, with 2,968 of these deemed ‘high priority’ and 11 ‘critical’.

These have now been fixed, but the same report noted that there were plans to bring FRAs ‘back in house’, even though historically FRAs have been done by private firms under a contract worth £450,000 last year. However, since the Grenfell Tower fire, the report claims it can now cost ‘as much as’ £2.7m for a three year contract, or £900,000 a year.

The report stated: ‘Since Grenfell fire, the cost of procuring FRA services has risen dramatically – the potential cost of delivering a three-year FRA programme has risen to £2.7m. This compares with the programme last year which cost £450k. We are therefore in the process of looking at the potential for bringing the programme in-house.’

It also claims that the rise in cost is also ‘partly down to a change in its approach’, as it wants to amend FRAs from a ‘one-size fits all’ method of ‘simply looking at communal areas of blocks and examining 10% of flat doors’. Instead, it aims to have ‘baseline checks’ be a type three FRA, with inspectors entering some flats for ‘internal monitoring’.

A spokesman for the council commented: ‘Given the expertise needed, and the increased demand since the Grenfell tragedy, there has been an increase in cost of FRAs. The rise in cost also reflects the switch in the type of fire risk assessment which will be carried out. The Type 3 is more in-depth, involving a visual inspection of the communal areas of a building and a proportion of residents’ flats, as well as a non-destructive inspection of the fire resistance of doors within flats.’