How The Hyde Group are adopting Hackitt’s recommendations

The Hyde Group is one of the first housing associations trialling and adopting recommendations from the Hackitt Review. Brent O’Halloran of the Hyde Group is speaking at HOMES 2018 and ahead of the conference we asked him the decision to adopt recommendations and the actions they have taken.

Brent O'Halloran

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Brent, The Hyde Group are one of the first housing associations to adopt recommendations from the Hackitt Review. Please could you describe the decision to do so ahead of government regulation?

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We were quick to react in the wake of the Grenfell fire by setting up a dedicated Fire safety taskforce with our Chief Executive as Project sponsor. This says much about the level of extra commitment Hyde has given building safety over the last 17 months. We decided early on that we needed to be able to confirm the fire strategy for residents in each of our high-rise blocks, so we developed a structured regime of invasive fire safety inspections, and embarked upon a programme of extensive remediation works including: compartmentation repairs and cladding replacement (for nine blocks so far).

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We developed our own Landlord’s fire safety record, which works like an MOT style checklist to review the safety of our buildings. This includes checking compliance certificates are valid and current, and a sample of individual property inspections where both technical and lifestyle considerations are reviewed.

 

What recommendations are you currently employing?

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We’ve been working on collating the building information for our blocks including reconnecting with the O&M manuals and finding out details of any later refurbishment works, this feels like it will form part of a future building safety file recommended by Hackitt.

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We’ve accepted the recommendation to think of a building as a system and have adopted the layers of protection approach to reducing risk. This allows some latitude as we work with our fire experts to find the best remediation options to apply.

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We recognise the responsibility of The Hyde Group as the designated duty holder where we are the freeholder for a scheme, we also publish bespoke building safety information on our website for residents in our High Risk Residential Buildings, and provide FRA reports on request.
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How is Hyde weighing cost and resource for building safety against other priorities such as the possibility of a review of the Decent Homes Standard and delivery of new homes?

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We have a very clear commitment from our Board to take all reasonable measures to make our properties safe. In the short term we’ve been able to accommodate our fire safety taskforce programme without compromising our business as usual activities such as Decent Homes and our ambitious development programme. However; as the magnitude of the works unfold, it is clear that expenditure on building safety is likely to become an increasingly significant factor when setting yearly budgets and considering future investment programmes.

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Finally, what strategies has The Hyde Group employed to work with tenants when looking at building safety?

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We have consulted with our residents on the development of our Landlord’s fire safety record and the building safety information for our HRRBs. We use our digital platform; the OAK to share information and facilitate on-line discussions. This year our Hydewide Residents Eye inspected our Fire safety programme, this included shadowing contractors as they carried fire safety inspections of tall blocks, talking to residents about their experience and getting feedback via online surveys. Hydewide Resident Voice have been consulted about the findings of the Hackitt report and been consulted on fire safety content on Hyde’s website following Grenfell. They have also made recommendations about the management of communal areas with a focus on residents’ safety.

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Catch Brent speaking at HOMES for the panel “Implementing the Hackitt Review” alongside L&Q, Salix Homes and Kier Housing Maintenance. The session is taking place at 14:45-15:30 on Wednesday 28th November in the Kier Theatre.

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Register for your free* pass now!

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*Attendance is free for Housing Associations, Local Authorities, ALMOs, Developers/Builders, Architects & Charities. A fee of £150 +20% VAT per day applies to commercial organisations.

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