Community Housing Cymru sets up UKs first fire safety partnership

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Community Housing Cymru (CHC) has launched a free service to all of its members that allows them to request expert advice directly from the South Wales Fire and Rescue Service on matters regarding fire safety enforcement, legal issues, compliance and existing protocols. The scheme, recognised as the Primary Fire Authority Scheme (PFAS), is the UKs first fire safety partnership of its kind in the social housing industry.

Recent focus on compliance and building safety, following key sector events such as Grenfell, has driven the establishment of the scheme and demonstrates the sectors increasing prioritisation of health and safety as a strategic priority and commitment to tenant safety. The advice provided will be an invaluable tool to assist providers in identifying their shortfalls and in meeting their fire safety compliance obligations.

The programme is free to all members of the CHC and will run for a three year trial period, at which point the funding and continuation of the scheme will be reviewed.

On the announcement of its launch, the Chief Executive of CHC, Stuart Ropke, said that “We have been exploring the possibility of establishing a Co-ordinated Primary Fire Authority Scheme for Welsh housing associations for some years. With the vital importance of fire safety, it has become increasingly necessary for there to be a service of this kind, and we are delighted to have members already signing up.”

Although the fire authority cannot perform the ‘role’ of consultant, they are able to offer initial tailored advice and support for organisations that need assurance on their fire safety compliance obligations. The advice from the South Wales Fire and Rescue Service could therefore be invaluable for Housing Associations to support them with critical compliance decision making and improving the safety of tenants.

Pennington Choices encourages CHC RPs to engage with the PFAS and is able to provide practical support for any organisation that requires follow-on support to achieve full compliance, following identification of any fire safety weaknesses. Furthermore, if an organisation is not clear on their compliance position, our Compliance Health Checks will provide them with a clear understanding of their compliance obligations and any compliance gaps in respect of fire safety, as well as for the other areas of statutory property compliance, including gas, electric, asbestos, water and lift safety. Contact us now by email to find out how we can assist your organisation.

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