Landlord fire safety procurement grows
IN THE wake of the Grenfell Tower fire, housing associations and councils across the UK are ‘rushing to improve’ fire safety with outsourcing of fire safety contracts.
The Telegraph reported on the ‘two biggest contract awards in eight years’, which have seen an outsourcing of over £300m for fire safety contracts. The news site noted that both councils and housing associations are ‘rushing to improve’ fire safety after facing ‘increasing pressure to install extra measures to prevent and fight fires in high rise blocks’ post Grenfell Tower.
One of the two contracts, worth £163m, was revealed the other week to be from housing association procurement group Re:allies, which was looking to tender for both sprinkler retrofitting and fire safety improvements nationwide. That agreement also aims to cover fire risk assessments alongside fire prevention and mitigation works, and will be used by building companies including Procure Plus, Efficiency North and Central Housing Investment Consortium.
These companies have responsibility for public buildings mainly in the north of England and Midlands, with contracting authorities across other UK areas may also use the framework agreement. Its scope is mainly for social housing but can also be rolled out for use on schools and public offices, as the focus turns to checking and retrofitting properties.
In detail, that agreement has broken England and Wales down into four regional lots covering the north, Midlands, south and Wales, with key lots for contractors covering fitting of sprinkler systems, which are expected to account for a spend of £100m over the course of the framework. Separate lots will cover fire door, smoke seal, intumescent strip and fire signage installation, with 10 consultants also sought to carry out ‘internal and external’ fire safety assessments.
The other agreement has seen the Northern Housing Consortium, which ‘represents hundreds of companies managing affordable housing in the North of England’, publish a £150m tender for a ‘fire safety framework’ including fire alarm installation, sprinkler installation and fire fighting equipment. The Telegraph pointed out that the two tenders are the ‘largest’ since 2009, showing the ‘scale of the work now under way’ to ‘retrospectively fit homes with fire safety equipment’.