The Social Housing Compliance Forum Review

The Social Housing Compliance Forum met again last month for another series of discussions and guest speakers covering a range of the most pressing issues facing maintenance and planned and void property works.

First up was Ryan Dempsey, Chief Executive Officer of The Compliance Workbook, who gave a presentation based on his expertise in the field of Electrical Testing.  Ryan’s presentation covered the core components of what makes up effective Electrical Testing; from strategy and planning, asset management, the risk and review process, and lifecycle delivery.  His session finished with a look to the future of compliance management.  From big data to machine learning, compliance is moving into an age where technology and innovation will only grow in importance.

Richard Townsend, Technical Development Engineer at Napit followed with an interactive session looking at EICR observations and codes.   Presenting a series of electrical observational tests, forum member’s had to decide what EICR code they would ascribe to each one, if needed. This prompted discussion on a range of issues, from the role of the manufacturer to the installer becoming the designer and accepting responsibility for faults.

Following a request from members to have a session dedicated to sprinklers in high rise buildings, the Forum was happy to welcome Keith MacGillivray, Chief Executive, British Automatic Fire Sprinkler Association. Keith began by looking to establish a consensus on what sprinklers were, highlighting the many questions he had been asked in his role; do they make fires worse? how much water do they use in comparison to the Fire Service? And what are the labour and cost implications, whether by installing or retrofitting sprinklers?  The session emphasized the role of fire sprinklers in preventing deaths in tower fires and put forward a case for retrofitting.

Moving onto boiler failures and engineer call outs, John Jackson, Area Sales Manager for the Yorkshire and North East at Sentinel spoke next.  John began by highlighting the large number of boiler call outs that are to systems that actually do not have the correct water treatment and what products are available to clean, protect, and maintain water systems.  Water treatment works in a similar way to topping up the oil of a car – it’s an important part of ensuring the system lasts longer and performs better.

Maintaining a focus on boilers, Peter Hobson, Regional Sales Manager at Neomitis Ltd updated attendees on the need-to-know information following April’s introduction of the Boiler Plus legislation.   For combi boilers, the new minimum performance standards in homes in England is now  set at 92%ErP.  It was also integral that combi boiler installations included certain features (although not all at the same time) such as the monitoring of either external weather data, a function to maintain internal temperatures, or functions that promote energy efficiency or automation.

As with all Social Housing Compliance Forums, the day ended with the meeting of a dedicated gas group.  As part of this, Neil Holden from the National Inspection Council for Electrical Installation Contracting and Marr Darville, Head of Field Performance Certsure LLP fielded questions from members. The conversation centred around the 18th Amendment regulations.  Attendees sought clarification on the new Code 3 protection regulations; if something complied with the old regulations but not the new, would this be coded as unsafe?  The consensus around the room was that this would not necessarily be the case, but it was best practice to ensure people were aware of potentially unsafe areas.  Finally, the group agreed that the next meeting would consider radon gas as part of the agenda.

Ryan Dempsey from The Compliance Workbook and Keith MacGillivray, from the British Automatic Fire Sprinkler Association will be speaking at the upcoming NHC Health and Safety in Housing Conference taking place 12 July 2018 in Leeds, book your place now at https://www.northern-consortium.org.uk/event/health-safety-housing-2/.

The next meeting of the Social Housing Compliance Forum will be taking place September 2018.  For further information please contact Liam Gregson, Member Engagement Officer, Northern Housing Consortium, by emailing liam.gregso@northern-consortium.org.uk.