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Project Overview 

Six Town Housing (Six Town) is an Arms Length Management Organisation (ALMO) that manages around 8000 properties on behalf of Bury Council in Greater Manchester. In January 2023, Six Town appointed Pennington Choices to undertake compartmentation surveys on nine properties across their property portfolio. These nine buildings were residential properties, some of which were supported living accommodation for over 55-year-olds. We appointed an experienced project manager and qualified surveyor to deliver compartmentation and fire door surveys on all nine properties to ensure they were fire-safe and compliant with current regulations. 

Our Approach  

A Fire Risk Assessment (FRA) programme had recently highlighted a number of fire safety concerns within Six Town’s buildings. We were appointed to detail any specific compartmentation defects and service breaches in the buildings so a contractor could understand and resolve them easily. To identify compartmentation defects in a time-efficient manner, we surveyed a representative sample number of areas within the buildings. We worked in cooperation with Six Town staff and the building manager to access occupied rooms, but this was not always necessary as most of the sample areas were void or unoccupied flats. 

We used SafetyCulture, our cloud based digital surveying tool, to collect data onsite and produce summary reports for the buildings before having them validated by our technical manager. This tool allows us to provide high-quality, cost-efficient reports for the client. The summary report highlights areas requiring further investigation, for example, undertaking intrusive wall surveys and external wall surveys to mitigate risks. This provides higher-level recommendations that can be shared easily with other third-party contractors. Our report also gave Six Town a comprehensive understanding of our findings, so they had a clear understanding of the next steps they needed to take.   

Six Town sent out communication to the residents via the onsite staff, informing them of works to be carried out. We then we coordinated our visits with the building manager to arrange the works, ensuring clear communication from project initiation to conclusion. Our dedicated project manager ensured all onsite staff had enhanced DBS checks prior to contract commencement to safeguard vulnerable residents. 

Our Achievements  

For each building, we used our compartmentation survey to calculate the risk of fire spread and provided the client with a fire safety action plan. The action plan highlighted any areas that required further investigation to improve fire safety and ensure compliance with regulations.   

We attended monthly meetings with Six Town to report on contract progress and any significant findings. These meetings ensured that we maintained open channels of communication, providing Six Town representatives with an excellent opportunity to ask any questions. We worked dynamically to adapt to Six Town’s requirements, caused minimal disruption to their tenants, and therefore developed a good working relationship with the organisation.