LHC Frameworks deliver results for the recent Awaab’s Law Consultation
Justin Costello, Head of Marketing at LHC Procurement Group speaks with the group’s Chief Operating Officer Jennifer Castle, on the recently launched Awaab’s Law consultation and the role LHC Frameworks can play in implementing the law within stricter timelines being set.
‘Everyone deserves to live in a home that is decent, safe, and secure’, says the new consultation launched by the government in support of Awaab’s Law, which was introduced in the landmark Social Housing Regulation Act of 2023. This new reform mandates social landlords to examine and correct reported health hazards within specified timeframes. But can this be practically done given the precise timelines involved? The answer is Yes! I believe, there is an enormous role quality framework providers can play in delivering quick access to the most specialised and efficient solutions to the building safety and compliance problems. Let’s find out how…
A New Hope with the Awaab’s Law Consultation
Awaab’s heart-breaking story was an eye-opener to the many tragedies untold or waiting to happen due to damp and mould. In 2021, the English Housing Survey pointed out that an estimated 904,000 homes in England alone had damp problems. Most recently, the report of Morgan Sinnott, who lived in an urban area of London and was left severely ill after the local council failed to clear the mould and damp in her home, has been even more disturbing.
Since the death of Awaab, there has been a call to establish life-changing reforms in social housing to thwart future tragedies. Giving new hope in this direction, the government has launched ‘The Awaab’s Law consultation’, which plans to introduce new rigorous time scales for social housing providers to take immediate action in addressing alarming threats such as damp and mould.
The consultation particularly includes suggestions for:
- Timescales for initial investigations of potential hazards;
- Requirements to be placed upon landlords to provide written summaries of investigation findings;
- Timescales for beginning repair works;
- Timescales for completing repair works;
- Timescales for emergency repairs;
- The circumstances under which properties should be temporarily decanted to protect residents’ health and safety; and
- Requirements to be placed upon landlords to maintain adequate record-keeping throughout repair works.
Welcoming this new move by the government, Jennifer Castle, Chief Operating Officer at LHC says, “The draft legislation emphasises the importance of responding to issues quickly, with the right specialist skills. By providing defined timescales, tenants, landlords, and their contractors will be clear on the response requirements of any investigation and subsequent remedial actions.”
Speaking at the LHC Christmas Conference in December 2023 about the lessons learned from Awaab’s death, Nadhia Khan, Executive Director of Customer and Community at Rochdale Borough Housing, said, “Often we blame lifestyle and the sector discussed damp and mould and whether it’s a lifestyle. But in reality, it’s not a lifestyle problem. None of us knew the degree of harm damp and mould can do, especially for someone vulnerable like a child.”
“When we did a callout this time last year for the tenants to tell us about their damp and mould, we got flooded with thousands of reports of the issue. Quite often the customer doesn’t know about the disrepair claim. We must understand that as a social landlord, it’s first and foremost our responsibility to look after our people and homes,” she added.
How can LHC help?
Through the lessons learned, I believe a lot needs to be done and frameworks offer a fast and efficient route to specialists and experts to help solve the issues of damp and mould within the given timeframe. When I asked Jennifer about the role frameworks can play in the expectations set in the new legislation, she replied, “Landlords will need to ensure they have a robust and responsive supply chain that they can call upon to support them in meeting the timescale expectations and one way to achieve this is by utilising frameworks. They are designed to help local authorities and housing associations access an approved supply chain quickly, that has been vetted when it comes to expertise and price. This way organisations can meet their legal obligations when it comes to building life safety as efficiently as possible.”
In 2023, we launched our brand new Asset safety and compliance framework, which supports social landlords to meet their requirements in ensuring they provide safe buildings for people to live in. This includes providing access to specialised suppliers who can help with specific issues, such as damp and mould, through to broader safety-critical areas including heating, ventilation, asbestos, electrical services, and water treatment.
Frameworks Coming Up Soon
At CPC, we continuously strive to bring innovations in our new and existing frameworks, and through our market engagement and supplier evaluations we take proactive measures while not waiting for a tragedy to happen. Keeping this in mind we will soon be launching our Fire Safety 2 (FS2) framework, replacing the current Fire Safety (FS1) framework, which covers passive fire protection and consultancy services. Due to be available from spring 2024, this framework will provide a more enhanced scope of fire safety measures including new or replacement, passive and active fire protection measures, as well as fire suppression and fire safety consultancy, ‘waking watch’ services, and cladding remediation.
The framework covers all current legislations including the Building Safety Act 2022, the Fire Safety Act 2021, and the Fire Safety (England) Regulations 2022.
Also coming in spring 2024 and replacing CPC Whole House Refurbishment & Associated Works (WH2) framework is the Refurbishment & Modernisation (RM3) Framework, which includes the refurbishment of both residential and non-residential buildings.
RM3 will offer social housing providers and public sector organisations the flexibility to procure a range of refurbishment and modernisation works to meet their asset management and improvement requirements.
How our frameworks work
Frameworks are umbrella agreements that set out the specification, quantity, quality, price and other requirements of building contracts. Suppliers compete through open competition to be appointed to a framework and we review every submission in detail. Bidders are encouraged to refer to similar previous work examples/case studies as part of their response where appropriate. Publicly funded bodies then access the suppliers that have successfully met the framework criteria by “calling off” individual contracts.
At CPC, our mission is to ‘Improve lives and places through quality procurement solutions’. Awaab’s law consultation is a move in the right direction to improving the lives of millions of residents who struggle with issues about life safety and building maintenance. To support this law, we must act now to help deliver the long-term solutions to damp, mould, and disrepair or face the consequences which will be beyond our reparation!
To learn more about our frameworks, do speak to a member of our client support team here.