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75% of all UK social housing blocks found to be unsafe '

PostPosted: Fri Jul 20, 2018 3:42 pm
by Dolphin
sad private landlords.jpg
Tenant safety is so important but is it the case that the local housing authority and big housing associations cock ups/disasters lead to extra legislative burdens/costs for small private landlords - reports like the one below suggest that findings of failures in the social sector are assumed in the private sector of small landlords.

Today small landlords are to burdened with the provision of 5 year electrical safety certificates to tenants......

A report from 2011 warned that almost three-quarters of UK social housing blocks were potentially unsafe in a fire.

As speculation mounts as to the possible cause of the devastating Grenfell Tower fire in West London, with at least six people dead and the number expected to rise, tenants of the 24-storey former council block have said they warned time and again that the building was a “catastrophic event” waiting to happen.

Carried out when Grant Shapps was Housing and Local Government Minister, the 2011 survey revealed that 75 per cent of managers responsible for maintaining social housing buildings were not certain their blocks had undergone a proper fire risk assessment.

he survey was carried out jointly by the Chief Fire Officers Association and the Chartered Institute of Housing following the 2009 Lakanal House tragedy in Camberwell which killed six people, including three children.

Following the 2009 fire, the bodies organised a series of safety seminars for those working in the social housing sector, where they polled 400 participants about the blocks they managed.

Before the briefing, 45 per cent of participants – who were asked anonymously – said they thought their buildings were “fit for purpose” – but this fell to 27 per cent after the seminar.

Following the briefing, just 25 per cent said they were confident a proper fire risk assessment had been carried out – down from 40 per cent before the seminar.

While organisers of the seminars stressed the findings did not mean that three quarters of all social housing buildings were fire traps, other professionals called the results “worrying” at the time.

Tony Prosser, who led the study for the Chief Fire Officers' Association, said at the time: “We were quite surprised by the results, bearing in mind that the people who come to these events tend to be already reasonably aware of the issues.

”It's a worrying figure. When we go through the various scenarios it made people aware of some things they'd maybe not considered.“

And he warned that modifications carried out by those who had bought their former council-owned flats was a major cause for concern, as well as work carried out in communal areas by those who manage the buildings.

”Some of these buildings are 50 years old now. Since then there's been a lot of work – satellite dishes, additional plumbing, heating systems. You can get heating engineers who bang holes between floors and don't do anything about filling in the gaps. In some buildings it can be a process of steady degradation,” said Mr Prosser.

Many fire safety experts have warned that chronic under-investment in social housing over several decades has left hundreds of blocks of flats unsafe, with councils and other housing suppliers unable to afford the hundreds of millions of pounds it would take to bring them up to standard.