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4 JUL 2022

DLUHC announcement

DLUHC announcement of undertaking of Market Engagement and Expression of Interest regarding Fire Risk Appraisals of External Walls

The Department for Levelling up, Housing and Communities (DLUHC) is pleased to announce the launch of an initial Market Engagement exercise, which seeks to:

  1. Ascertain market capacity, demand, and capability for carrying out Fire Risk Appraisals of External Walls (FRAEWs) – otherwise known as EWS assessments
  2. Meet the Building Safety Fund’s (BSF) interim PAS assessor requirements (which may also be utilised for the 11m+ schemes over the short term)
  3. Receive market feedback on the longer-term proposals for working with the market in line with Homes England’s model of delivery for the Mid-Rise programme.

The remit of the engagement covers the delivery of Fire Risk Appraisals of External Walls (FRAEWs), in accordance with the PAS9980:2022 standard, for buildings which will be seeking to access government funding for addressing life critical fire safety risks posed by cladding systems.

This engagement seeks to work with the market to consider a range of commercial and operational models designed to increase the market's capacity and capability to deliver FRAEWs to this standard. As part of this, they will be inviting you to directly interact with them to share your views and insights.

The exercise has been commissioned to initially support Building Owners applying for the BSF (Building Safety Fund for buildings over 18m in England only), when it opens for new applications; and the forthcoming opening of the MRS (Mid Rise Scheme for buildings 11-18m, delivered by Homes England (HE)). For both funds, the recommendations provided by a PAS9980 FRAEW will be required to enable funding decisions.

The requirements of these schemes will generate a significant increase in demand for FRAEWs over several years and DHLUHC, working with HE, is considering how they can support this demand. The level of demand will depend on the response to the schemes, but as an indication, for BSF they expect to receive applications from approx. 300 – 500 buildings between now and March 2023. The opening of the MRS will have a further significant impact on demand. 

Accordingly, the capability of the market to deliver these volumes will help facilitate applications for both the BSF, and the MRS, and thereby support the objective of making residents safe.

Proposal

Extensive market research has been undertaken by colleagues across government. This also included engagement with a range of external organisations, representative bodies such as RICS, and fire engineers to discuss the current position of the FRAEW market, and the challenges it faces.

DLUHC is now seeking to progress this initial market research and establish a series of options for optimally supporting the successful delivery of FRAEWs and increasing market capacity.

A range of commercial and operational models are being developed by DLUHC to support the BSF programme up to the end of the 22/23 financial year. These are intended to capture the full range of options available, considering factors such as potential scope for direct intervention, accreditation requirements, and insurance challenges. Following this, HE will then step in (23/24 financial year) and take the lead using their own processes and systems to deliver the MRS and the BSF schemes.

DLUHC are therefore proposing to launch a series of market engagement exercises over the coming months, to discuss the options available to the BSF and are also keen to seek feedback on HE’s proposed delivery model. A core part of this will be to discuss how DLUHC work with you to boost FRAEW capacity for buildings benefiting from Govt funds, and to meet the needs of the wider marketplace, who may need to conduct these assessments.

The Engagement shall consist of the following stages:

 

Stage

Title

Description

 

Dates

1

Announcement of Engagement

Announcement of the Department’s intention to run an engagement exercise and sharing of Expression of Interest form

 

w/c 27th June 2022

2

Market Testing

A series of webinars run by the Department to present an overview of the approaches under consideration, to discuss feedback and highlight any challenges in the market

 

Late July 2022

3

Targeted Engagement

A series of meetings in small groups with differing forms of organisations, to discuss refined options in more detail and obtain specific feedback

 

Early August 2022

4

FRAEW Model Implementation

The outcomes of the Market Engagement exercise shall be used to inform the implementation of a new approach for supporting the delivery of FRAEWs.

 

Autumn 2022

Ask of you

DLUHC would like to understand whether your organisation would be interested in participating in this engagement exercise.

Included below is a link to a short ‘Expression of Interest’ (EOI) registration form, which they require you to fill in and return.

As part of the ‘Expression of Interest’ they will request that you provide them with some basic information. The information you provide will help them to shape their approach, better understand their priorities, and gain better insight into current market capacity for the delivery of these appraisals. Please be open and honest in your responses.

You can access the form here

(Please note only one response per organisation is required).

 

Next Steps

DLUHC are currently working towards the timelines set out in the table above. We therefore ask that ‘Expression of Interest responses’ are returned to DLUHC by 15th July 2022. This will enable them to review all submissions, analyse the feedback and inform their approach, whilst continuing to meet proposed timelines. Following the receipt and collation of all responses, they shall issue invitations to a series of webinars to be held in late July.

If you indicate via the EOI form that you wish to continue with this engagement exercise, you will be contacted by DLUHC in due course with further information.

If you indicate via the EOI form that you do not wish to participate, we would appreciate you sharing this information with RICS, so that we can add your preference to our database to ensure we do not contact you again in relation to this engagement exercise.

We believe that the implementation of PAS 9980:2022 represents a real opportunity to ensure that fire safety remediation decisions will be underpinned by professional and consistent assessments made by qualified fire risk assessors. Your time and support in this exercise will ensure that all parties can fully leverage this opportunity.

DLUHC look forward to collating your responses and working with you to support our shared mission, ensuring that buildings are safe – and people feel safe in their homes – now and in the future.