As the government receives nearly 2,800 applications for their Building Safety fund, we know that the drive for improvements to building safety across our sector goes far beyond cladding remediation. In recent years housing providers have worked quickly to access safety risks within their homes and take urgent action when required. The UK’s largest Registered Providers look to spend £1.2bn in the next 5 years on fire safety works.  In many cases this has meant putting in place temporary measures such as Waking Watch services to ensure the safety of residents until works have been completed.

Competency

The competency of those working on higher-risk buildings has proved to be one of the major hurdles to overcome in our sector’s drive towards building safety. Last month the Competence Steering Group (CSG) published their final report ‘Setting the Bar’. They’ve set out a framework to encourage a culture change across our sector. These include a national suite of competency standards which professionals will be able to assess themselves against.

Our Technical Partnerships Manager, Jenna Hicken and Head of Operations, David Ashby are on hand to ensure these competency standards are met across our frameworks. They’re both fully qualified Chartered Building Surveyors with many years’ experience in both the public and private sectors. They keep up to date with the market via regular RICS training courses and are in regular contact with our legal partners on legislative changes.

Jenna and David provide technical input when procuring our frameworks and write specifications and cost models that are targeted in giving Members value for money and making their contracts easier to administer on site. This in turn improves quality and cuts down on the number of disputes. When framework tenders are returned SEC take time to thoroughly check the bids for competency and price. We’re robust in our evaluations and this has sometimes resulted in abnormally low bids being excluded.

At framework tender stage and mini tender/direct award stages Jenna and David support our customers and help ensure competency through:

  • Bidder accreditations – where these are specified we check the evidence provided by bidders and if the accreditation is not sufficient these bidders are excluded. We’ve done this recently with our own Waking Watch Framework and Fire Consultancy Framework.
  • Up-to-date specifications – In 2019, when the fire resistance of fire doors came into doubt we re-priced the rates within our Fire Remedial Works framework so that only manufacturers who could certify a 30 / 60 minute standard were used, thus ensuring the right level of certification that is third party accredited.
  • Price evaluations – abnormally low bids are always investigated and removed if necessary.
  • Member support – in direct awards and mini tenders we work with Members to ensure they’re asking the best possible quality questions, and we review their specifications and price models.
  • Member advice – we have checked that contractor costs represent VFM and are using the right codes. This is done with our Members in mind. The final decision lies with the Member in the case of their own contract but we assist with this.

At SEC we’re passionate about building frameworks that are clever, agile and really embrace building safety. We support our Members with their important safety work regimes and are able to advise the best route to market for achieving great quality. We know sometimes frameworks aren’t the best option for you – and that’s okay. In most cases however, frameworks offer a compliant route to experienced, competent contractors with the capacity to carry out your works.

Have you got a compliancy requirement? Our suite of frameworks can assist. You’ll receive our technical support when using any of our frameworks. We’ve frameworks to help you with:

If you’d like to speak us about your requirements, or have questions about our technical support, please call a member of the team today on 020 8036 0004 or email info@southeastconsortium.org.uk.