Housing councils and associations across the country are racing to improve the fire safety of their social housing blocks by outsourcing over £300m of work through the two largest contract awards in eight years.
Landlords have experienced increasing pressure to introduce extra measures in order to prevent and fight fires in high-rise blocks after the disaster in the Grenfell Tower in June, in which an estimated eighty people lost their lives after a huge fire ripped through the building’s flats in west London.
Earlier this week, the Northern Housing Consortium, which represents numerous companies that are managing affordable housing in the North of England, published a £150m offer for a new “fire safety framework,” which includes the installation of sprinkler systems and fire alarms and fire fighting equipment in social housing.
A week earlier, Re:allies, a social housing regeneration consortium, posted a £163m contract offer to carry out fire prevention work and fire risk assessments in public buildings and homes. Re:allies represents over 100 landlords, offering major contracts on their behalf in order to make purchasing services more efficient.
The said fire contract would widely be used by landlords who own social housing. However, it could be rolled out for use in public offices and schools. About £100m of the amount is anticipated to go on fitting sprinkler systems to flats.
The contracts are the two highest offers that were published since 2009 and reveal the scale of the work currently underway as landlords attempt to retrospectively fit homes with equipment for fire safety. It was revealed that there was no central sprinkler system that was installed at Grenfell, which members of the Fire Protection Association stated would have “undoubtedly” saved lives.