Building Safety Q&A

Posted Wednesday, June 8, 2022


Our Head of Building Safety discusses how Fexco Property Group ensures that our property management services are compliant and are operating to the highest building safety standards. 

What’s your name and job title?

Graham Oliphant, Head of Building Safety for the Fexco Group.

What is your role in the organisation?

I head up a team of specialists known as the Building Safety Team, who cover elements of Health & Safety as well as Building Safety, and all aspects of High-Risk Buildings (HRB) including developing building safety cases. Our technical experts are valuable intermediaries as we manage applications through the Building Safety Fund (BSF) and assist our Project Managers and clients with technical enquiries.

What do the Building Safety Team do?

We have an established Building Safety Team who provides centralised compliance oversight and active monitoring of all our buildings to support our property teams on the ground, delivering excellent and responsive services.

We provide strategic guidance to the Business on how to prepare for and future-proof our delivery of smart and compliant property management services. The team liaise with multiple internal and external stakeholders (from designing and delivering up to date training for our Property Managers) and providing technical support to chairing meetings with resident groups, local councils, developers, and the Fire Rescue Service (FRS).

We also oversee the successful delivery of multiple projects focused on addressing risks and the needs of our clients, through a team of highly competent specialists. Our team includes:

  • Experienced ex-serving Fire Officers
  • Law degree qualified personnel
  • Experienced property managers
  • An Operations Manager from a risk consultancy

All of whom have professional membership in National fire management bodies. So, we have one of the best cross-functional teams in the industry.

How did the Grenfell Tower fire impact the property management industry?

It led to a culture change in how we need to scrutinise fire and building safety. The challenge and skill are in how we facilitate and implement this, within an existing leasehold management structure, whilst minimising the financial impact on leaseholders.

We can achieve this through forward planning and a pragmatic, proportionate appraisal of our buildings, working in conjunction with our stakeholders and trusted service providers.

What changes to legislation have there been since the Grenfell Tower fire?

This is a huge topic list, much of which is still transitioning through secondary legislation.

The focus I think is that we have a dedicated team of specialists who are monitoring the legislation shifts and we are providing direction for the Business and reassurance to our clients by strategically formulating projects to address the changes. We are now well-positioned to manage the outcomes from the Fire Safety Act and Building Safety Act across all our properties in England and Wales, which equates to some 1400 buildings.

What action is Fexco Property Group taking to ensure buildings comply with new regulations?

We have been proactive in anticipating the oncoming Building Safety Act and already have a dedicated HRB (High-Risk Building) team who provide an added layer of assurance and scrutiny to all our 18m plus buildings, which are in scope for the Building Safety Bill Act.

We are proud to operate to the exacting standards of ISO 45001 across our Occupational Health & Safety with a dedicated Health & Safety team. We also have a robust Fire Risk Management System aligned with BS9997:2019.

How is Fexco Property Group directly helping residents to feel safe in their buildings?

We believe in working with all our stakeholders and enfranchising leaseholders in the process of delivering effective fire safety.  Having informed resident engagement is a key deliverable for us. This also allows us to be proactive with centrally managed SLAs and procurement which affords our clients preferential rates with professional competent providers, at the local level.

Our Property Managers receive regular pragmatic training and legislative developments from our Building Safety specialists, and we work as a collaborative team to provide a solutions-based service for our clients.

Do you have any examples of Health & Safety projects that the team have been working on?

Absolutely, we’ve been working on a number of initiatives including the following -

  • Recently saved a client £60,000 by identifying eligibility opportunity to have two fire alarm installs funded by the Government waking watch relief fund.
  • Group-wide fire door project launching to address 80,000 fire door surveys across England and Wales, centrally managed and delivered at a fixed price per door for clients.
  • Personal Emergency Evacuation Plans (PEEPS) project launched, with posters in blocks that have QR codes and a centrally monitored inbox, backed up with individual letters to all residents inviting them to consultative workshops and encouraging them to work with us as advisers to form a policy that works for them.
  • Reviewed all 560 buildings pre 2000 age construction which warrants an Asbestos survey
  • Centralised Procurement deals for (Premises Information Boxes) PIBs and development of building safety plans.
  • The Building Safety Team (BST) is currently reviewing all our 11-18m buildings for anticipated requests from Developers (as part of the ‘Developer Pledge’).
  • The BST is also scrutinising all our U18m buildings which have a B2 rating for special attention and consideration for re-rating to B1 to assist leaseholders in accessing lending.

For further information, please read our blog on the Grenfell Tower Anniversary and its impact on the property industry.

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