Agenda item

Building Safety Compliance


The Committee received an update on the current position with regards to building safety and compliance within the Council property portfolio.


Gateshead Council own and operate over 350 non-domestic buildings and 19100 domestic properties across the Borough.  The Council has a duty to identify and manage hazards within its buildings and to ensure specific levels of health and safety are maintained usually met through risk assessment and planned maintenance programmes as well as reactive repairs and timely remedial actions.


With regards to Domestic Buildings the following key risks have been identified:



·         Legionella Risk Assessments have not resumed

·         There is a lack of internal resources to complete remedials from risk assessments and inspections

·         Crowhall Towers safety programme has been impeded by asbestos

·         Management of specialist contractors failing to meet programme dates

·         Strain on budgets from statutory fire structural surveys and fire strategies

·         Fire safety plan at Redheugh and Eslington Court not fully implemented

·         Active ‘headhunting’ of staff.


Fire risk assessments are up to date but the December target for high rise block remedials was not met, 6 of 12 are now targeted to be completed in January and we are waiting for an update on the remainder.  The Fire Safety Act has changed existing legislation, a lot of which came from Grenfell.  We have a qualified person in our team, however, there are only 3 in the Country and he is potentially being offered jobs all over the world.  The impact of losing this member of staff will cost approximately £400,000 in contractor fees. 


With regards to the overall domestic risk profile we are prioritising the highest risk.  With regards to the Non domestic properties if you control the building you need to have a competent person to keep the building safe.  It has not always been the case that there have been qualified/experienced staff to work in the buildings.  Some buildings are not always listed on electronic systems.  It is the intention to look at one building at a time we need to look at the leases and see whether we have retained the repairs and maintenance function.   An action plan is in place to recover compliance and monitor and maintain compliance.


It was queried whether this was in relation to buildings transferred already or those in the process of being transferred.  It was noted that this is for all buildings.  These issues will result in a slowing down of the initial process of transfer.


A process has been agreed and an initial condition survey will be undertaken and cost options provided.  We need to make sure the building is safe when they move in and they need to know what they have to do to make sure to keep the building safe.


It was queried that on domestic properties where we are aware of asbestos are we making residents aware.  It was noted that where we have asbestos we are undertaking an ongoing risk assessment with regards to the butterfly roofs we have only just now identified them and we are part ceiling lofts off.  It’s there but as long as its not disturbed it will be fine.  Once the ongoing programme is commenced information will be made more public.


RESOLVED    -           That the comments of the Committee be noted.


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