Building Safety

We have developed a building safety programme to make sure we comply with the government guidance on building safety. We have invested £20m in the last four years in fire safety in existing buildings. This includes upgrading or replacing over 1,400 fire doors. We have budgeted for a further £50-£60m spend by 2026 to meet the changing fire safety requirements with an overall plan in place that is due to be completed by 2030.
 

What is Building a Safer future?

We are committed to providing homes that are safe for you to live in and we continue to work in partnership with your local Fire and Rescue service and to follow government guidance.
 
Your building will have been signed off by Building Control at the time of construction and has been subject to regular Fire Risk Assessments ever since.
 

Does Origin have any buildings with cladding?

The majority of blocks of apartments built across the country in the last 30 years have some form of exterior fa├žade and may include cladding. We have already removed ACM cladding from one block as part of our high-rise building safety programme.
 

Our building safety programme

We currently have Fire Risk Assessments in place for all our buildings and we have been rolling out more intensive building safety inspections to all our blocks regardless of height. Our programme will see us complete:

  • 3  x high-rise Building Safety Cases each year

  • 5 x external wall surveys on medium rise buildings each year

 The anticipated programmes for high and medium rise buildings can be found here

We aim to complete surveys to all 34 high-rise buildings by 2030 and surveys to all medium rise buildings by 2026. However, we recognise that there is now a huge demand on a limited number of approved fire engineers and competent contractors to complete these surveys. The programmes may be subject to change.

What is a high-rise building and a medium rise building?

A high rise building is 7 storeys and above or 18m and above in height
A medium rise building is between 3 - 6 storeys or 11m – 18m in height
 

How have we prioritised the buildings?

We have identified and prioritised buildings by carrying out a risk analysis based on what we already know about them and the residents living in them. This is called a ‘desktop review’
 

What is a building ‘safety case’?

We need to have what is known as a ‘safety case’ for all of the high-rise buildings that fit within the Building a Safer Future programme. A ‘safety case’ sets out how the building is being kept safe and who is responsible for keeping the building safe. It contains important information about the building that demonstrates how fire and structural risks are managed on an ongoing basis. To create a ‘safety case’ we need to carry out surveys of the building, so we have a record of its structure.
 

What happens during surveys?

We appoint specialist building surveyors and fire engineers to come to each building and carry out an inspection. They identify the materials used in the construction and the methods used at the time the building was developed. This can involve looking inside the layers of the building externally and internally (Intrusive Survey).
 
Following the survey the experts produce a report. This report may make recommendations for remedial work needed or suggest changes to the fire safety precautions already in place. This can include upgrading or installing smoke or heat detection in properties and communal areas, upgrading fire doors or carrying out additional works inside properties and within communal areas.
 

If remedial work is recommended what happens then?

Usually, we have to carry out further investigations to get the full picture of what is needed and then produce a programme of works.

If we need to do remedial work, we will let everyone know what the plan is and what to expect.

We must also consider how the work is funded. As a matter of principal however, we are always clear that we never let funding prevent us from getting on with work that needs to be done. Read more. 
 

Why can’t you just do all the buildings in one go?

Due to the limited number of qualified people in the country who can carry out surveys and appraisals and the high demand for their services at the moment, it is likely to take some time before we have completed all the detailed and intrusive surveys needed for this purpose on all the buildings in our building safety programme.
 
We understand and sympathise that if you are trying to move, re-mortgage or staircase, waiting for your building to go through the building safety programme is a frustrating and stressful time. We are doing everything we can to keep the programme moving at pace but we need to be realistic about timings. There is a huge amount of work to do and prioritising buildings on a risk analysis is the right thing to do.
 

What happens if I want to sell my property – do I need an EWS1 form ?

You can read more about EWS1 forms here. 
 

What does Building Safety mean for me as a resident?

Building Safety is the responsibility of both the landlord and the residents. It is important that we work together and you  tell us of any safety concerns that you have so that we can act on them. We have appointed a dedicated Resident Engagement Manager who will ensure that you are involved in your  building’s safety decisions. We will provide information in the format of your choice about surveys and works that are due to be carried out and will always communicate with you and keep you updated.

We also ask that you;

  • Provide us access to your homes for us to undertake safety inspections or fire and structural surveys and safety maintenance.

  • Don't store possessions in communal areas

  • Don't  store combustible materials on your balconies

  • Identify and report hazards, including reminding neighbours of building safety information if they are not adhering to this.

  • Understand your buildings fire strategy (Stay Put or Evacuate)

  • Advise us if you need a PEEP (Personal Emergency Evacuation Plan)

 
Once we have completed any work to your building there are some things that we need you to do and some things you won’t be able to do. These are;
 

Do

Don’t

Let us know if you have any issues with your front door. e.g. are there excessive gaps between door and frame ?

Replace your front door without our authorisation – we need a certificate to make sure that it meets fire safety requirements

Let us know if there are any issues with your fire alarm

Cover your fire alarm or try to remove it

Let us know if you have any fire or safety concerns about your property or building

Install security gates to your front door

Let us know if you are having any contractors in to complete work. We need to authorise any work you have done – this includes Virgin or Sky installations.

Do any work or DIY to your property without our prior permission (Leaseholders included) – this includes changing the floor, putting in a new kitchen or bathroom, installing broadband, electrical work etc.