After Grenfell, in terms of capital investment, balancing the trilemma of procurement, client engagement and energy efficiency related fuel poverty is the biggest challenge facing social housing over the next two years. It is likely that hundreds of tower blocks will need urgent action to remove failed insulation. This task will be incredibly difficult. The industry now has an opportunity to change the way projects are procured to place more emphasis on solution rather than price, and safety rather than profit.
It is clear that only by clients and the supply chain working together can future risks be mitigated.
Currently, there are significant gaps especially for clients around project specification, design and technical oversight. During mobilisation to support partners in the removal of failed systems, we have opened up blocks to inspect and have discovered a high proportion have shown significant failings, not just in fire failure but also of design. This commonly includes that fire breaks are in the wrong places or not there at all.
We are now seeing that Social Housing Providers across the country have started the process of stripping the failed systems and replacing it with non-combustible systems, like Soltherm WarmSafe based on mineral wool slabs as thermal insulation material. The procurement of these kind of projects can be time consuming and complex. In addition, leaving failed cladding in place during that time is both distressing for residents and potentially an ongoing hazard, which may require additional costs to mitigate.
Soltherm has developed a compliant procurement route. SMS is an OJEU compliant framework with customers using it from Inverness to Cornwall. We can utilise SMS to help reduce complexity, carry out inspections, engaging with the right design, fire and technical experts to support works and providing a report with recommendations to help clients determine their best next action. SMS covers survey, design, supply, installation and maintenance, all in one offer, ensuring resource and time savings in the procurement, legal, contract and design processes.
This is an inclusive approach that includes your internal teams, and the very best project managers, façade experts, fire safety engineers and installers to develop the right solution. Our partnership approach liaises with mutiple experts to ensure every aspect of the project is carefully designed, reviewed and procured. This process ensures quality and attention to detail are at the highest levels and not overlooked.
The first step is to understand what has been installed and then assess safe and compliant alternatives. Whether it is replacing the cladding with non-combustible mineral wool external wall insulation (EWI), Rain Screen Cladding or another system you may wish to pursue.
SMS provides a future proof solution to safeguard against potential regulation changes with an independent Fire Safety Certificate. We have access to SWIGA Installers who are accredited for working in the most challenging of high rise locations.
SWIGA gives a transferable 25-year insurance backed guarantee. SMS holds all appropriate insurances and will generate all appropriate warranties and guarantees.
In the event that the decision is to replace the failed cladding with a compliant EWI system, we utilize Soltherm WarmSafe, currently the only noncombustible solution that meets BR135, BS8414 and a wind load requirements for high rise buildings.
If you are an asset professional looking for support in your upcoming projects and would like to explore options or get free no obligation advice please don’t hesitate to get in touch.
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