Agenda item - HRA Asset Strategy Review – Providing safe homes

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Agenda item

HRA Asset Strategy Review – Providing safe homes

Report of Executive Director Neighbourhoods, Communities & Housing (copy attached).

 

Decision:

(1)      That the Asset Management Strategy Review be approved in principle, subject to consideration of the detailed Capital Programme in January 2018. The document is shown in full in Appendix 1.

 

(2)      That it be agreed to proceed with resident consultation, procurement and subsequent installation of a sprinkler system to Essex Place subject to match funding from East Sussex Fire & Rescue Service.

 

Minutes:

27.1   The Committee considered a report of the Executive Director, Neighbourhoods, Communities & Housing which provided an update and review to the Housing Revenue Account (HRA) Asset Management Strategy, specifically in relation to health and safety. The report built upon the strategy by seeking to embed further improved policies as set out in Appendix 1 of the report.  This would provide a framework to ensure continued improvement in compliance and safety in homes, and better access to information for residents. The report also gave an update on the project to retro fit sprinklers at Essex Place, specifically relating to achieving match funding for the project from East Sussex Fire & Rescue Service. The report was presented by the Housing Asset Strategy Manager and Head of Housing Strategy, Property & Investment.

 

27.2   In answer to questions put by Councillor Druitt it was explained that the review would ensure that council blocks complied with fire regulations. The council were in the process of installing sprinklers. These were an enhancement and were not fitted to meet a health and safety requirement.  The three year option to deliver sprinklers would be difficult to achieve particularly in relation to the amount of consultation required. There was a need to carry out a great deal of work to persuade tenants and leaseholders that sprinklers are a good idea.

 

27.3   Councillor Mears stressed that there was a need to give assurances to tenants and leaseholders that there was a yearly review process. In response to questions put by Councillor Mears it was explained that the frequency of fire risk assessments was laid down in the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005. Unfortunately, it did not lay down a definition of regular, except that it should be a regular review. It went on to say that it should be a risk based approach. The council had decided that high rise and sheltered schemes should have an annual review. In terms of risk, most problems were identified on a weekly or monthly basis.

 

27.4   Councillor Moonan referred to concerns raised at the West Area Panel regarding common areas. It was explained that fire safety posters were displayed by all lifts. These gave advice regarding the delayed evacuation policy. Information was also provided to all tenants in a fire safety leaflet. Fire safety information was also supplied online.

 

27.5   Councillor Janio asked where the council had determined liability for the sprinkler systems, particularly in regard to leaseholders. He imagined that they would be charged the full amount for the installation but if it was deemed that the liability had been there when they purchased their property then a case could be made that it was for the common good that sprinklers were installed, and the council should pay a portion of leaseholder sprinkler systems. It was agreed to email the response confidentially to all members of the Committee.

27.6   In answer to questions put by Councillor Yates it was explained that there were approximately 25% leaseholders in Essex Place and St James’s House. There was specific leaseholder advice in relation to those two blocks. Both blocks were match funded by East Sussex Fire & Rescue Service and the committee had given approval for work to proceed with St James’s House and to proceed with consultation with Essex Place, subject to confirming the budgets. The approach would be captured in budget papers for January 2018.

27.7   RESOLVED:-

(1)      That the Asset Management Strategy Review be approved in principle, subject to consideration of the detailed Capital Programme in January 2018. The document is shown in full in Appendix 1.

 

(2)      That it be agreed to proceed with resident consultation, procurement and subsequent installation of a sprinkler system to Essex Place subject to match funding from East Sussex Fire & Rescue Service.

 

Supporting documents:

 


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