Decision details

Fire Risk Assessment Provision Contract

Decision Maker: Cabinet Member for Housing

Decision status: Recommendations Approved

Is Key decision?: No

Is subject to call in?: No

Purpose:

This report proposes contracting two fire safety consultancies for a three-year programme and maintain an internal team of fire risk assessors to undertake quality control and oversee sheltered housing, hostels, converted street properties and our halls.

Decision:

It is recommended that the Cabinet Member for Housing:

 

1.     Approve the appointment of the following two consultancies on an order based contract through the South East Consortium (SEC) framework to deliver a three-year fire risk assessment, compartmentation and quality installation review programme, with the in-house team of fire risk assessors clienting the programme and providing local expertise:

·       Oakleaf Group for a period of 36 months with provision for an extension of up to 6 months. The contract to start from early June 2019.

·       FCMS for a period of 36 months with provision for an extension of up to 6 months. The contract to start from early June 2019.

 

2.     Approve a combined annual spend of up to £600,000 for these two contracts. It is not possible to accurately forecast precise expenditure but it is not expected to exceed £1.8m over the full 36 month life of these two contracts. If more expenditure is required or anticipated in excess of the £1.8m within that period then a further Cabinet Member Decision paper will be submitted.

Reasons for the decision:

The reason for the recommendation is to comply with the law on conducting fire risk assessments and the Council’s duty as the responsible person for its housing to undertake fire risk assessments. To put in place a resilient delivery mechanism and robust client monitoring system to meet the Council’s high standards to protect its residents.

Alternative options considered:

Option 1 – Do nothing

It is a requirement in law to complete regular fire risk assessments. The current delivery model using five consultancies was engaged outside of the procurement process to fulfil urgent requirements. It is therefore not an option to do nothing

 

Option 2 – In house provider

The Council maintains an in-house team of fire risk assessors. However, over the last 18 months, turnover has been high owing to the competitive and lucrative fire safety market with many operatives commanding high salaries outside of the Council’s traditional salary scheme.

 

In addition, assessors working as contractors or agency can leave with a weeks’ notice, which has happened consistently. This does not enable a resilient service that can meet service demand. Recruitment and induction is also labour intensive.

 

However, a small team of professionals have been in post for over a year and this is sustainable. Their familiarity with the housing stock and expertise makes them best placed to tackle specialised housing and quality control other providers.

 

Option 3 – Consultancies

Contracted consultancies can deliver the volumes and provide a resilient service. The current use of five consultancies is however fragmented and the quality, although subsequently controlled, varies. Officers with experience recommend that two providers are contracted to provide resilience and ensure high standards.

 

Only using consultancies, however, removes the ability of the Council to effectively client with the appropriate expertise and reduces flexibility where more unique knowledge (e.g. specialised housing) is required.

 

Option 4 – In-house and consultancies

A mix of in-house expertise, with local knowledge, which can expertly client and provide flexibility in combination with two consultancies working to a high industry standard (e.g. SP205) that can provide resilience and meet the high demand is the preferred option.

 

It is proposed appoint two contractors from the SEC framework through a direct award. Clienting of this work and works undertaken by H&F Maintenance will be undertaken by the Property Compliance team.

Publication date: 03/06/2019

Date of decision: 03/06/2019

Accompanying Documents: