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Project Overview 

Believe Housing (Believe) is one of the largest housing associations in the North East, managing over 18,000 homes from the Durham coast to the rural North Pennines. Our team of experienced external wall specialists were appointed to provide stage one and two fire risk appraisals of external walls (FRAEWs), in accordance with PAS9980 methodologies, for nine medium rise buildings across Believe’s property portfolio. From these FRAEWs, we also provided Believe with EWS1 forms to provide confirmation that the buildings have undergone the correct checks and are safe.  

Our Approach  

Prior to the mobilisation meeting, we requested key building documentation to undertake a desktop analysis and gain an understanding of the building, aiming to reduce the number of stage two investigations required. The mobilisation meeting confirmed work requirements, health and safety requirements, and a list of key stakeholders and escalation procedures. This ensured clear communication was maintained from the beginning of the project to keep everyone up to date.  

Conducting FRAEWs required a two-stage approach. In stage one, we performed a desktop analysis of existing information and visually inspected the buildings, assigning a risk rating to their external walls. Among the nine buildings assessed, four received a low-risk rating, therefore did not require a stage two investigation. The remaining five buildings underwent a stage two external wall intrusive assessment to investigate potential fire safety risks further. 

We coordinated with third party contractor to conduct our stage two investigations by opening up the external walls of the buildings for our assessor to investigate the makeup of the walls. The investigation revealed that three buildings were compliant, whilst the remaining two were confirmed medium risk, prompting us to provide guidance on Believe’s next steps.  

Our Achievement 

Upon completion of the works, we provided completed FRAEW reports and EWS1 forms to Believe. We then hosted a client debrief meeting with Believe where we explained all FRAEW findings and offered guidance on their next steps.  

We have developed a good working relationship with Believe and we continued to provide them with support in the months after the contract by providing contact details for an architect who specialised in safe external walls to design a solution for their non-compliant buildings. Due to our strong relationship and commitment to completing surveys in good time with high quality guidance, Believe have also requested that we undertake their Fire Risk Assessments and Compartmentation Surveys.