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Thomas Hague, supply chain development manager at Procure Plus, answers some questions about the firm’s new Fire Risk and Mitigation framework, which hits the market this week

What will the revised framework look like?

We are procuring a framework agreement that provides opportunity to deliver fire risk consultancy and works to social housing customers across the UK.

We are seeking contractors and consultants who are specialist in their field and committed to improving the communities in where we live and work.

We’ve built on the success and learning of the previous framework and developed the original lots and added some new ones to support the changing requirements of landlords and the new legislative landscape.

  • FRAs – provision of type 1-4 fire risk assessments
  • EWS1 – provision of external wall surveys and advice on cladding issues
  • Building safety consultancy – broad consultancy to support landlords compliance activities for both new build and as-built properties as well as strategic support
  • Fire precaution works – compartmentation, fire doors and penetration sealing
  • Sprinklers – design, installation & maintenance of sprinkler systems
  • Fire detection – design, installation & maintenance of fire alarm systems and wider electrical upgrades and maintenance. For example, emergency lighting, CCTV, evacuation alert systems, access control and warden call
  • External fabric (cladding) – works to external building fabric for all elements of cladding systems
  • External fabric (render) – works to external building fabric for all elements of rendered systems
  • Service riser works – works to risers including soil pipe replacement

The first iteration of your FRaM framework was issued in the wake of the Grenfell Tower tragedy. To what extent has Grenfell informed this new framework?

As the industry has understood more about the causes and failings of the Grenfell Tower tragedy through the Inquiry, the requirement for different works has evolved.

That’s particularly been the case over the last couple of years as we recognised the risk of flammable cladding and insulation and the need to survey and remediate failings.

How will your new framework take into account the recent publication of the Building Safety Bill?

The Building Safety Bill presents improvements in the way buildings are managed and also brings in some complexity.

The framework has a new lot titled ‘Building Safety Consultancy’ with the aim of supporting landlords across the broad areas that they may need advice with.

For example, helping to formulate building safety strategies, embedding fire safety through each RIBA development stage, or overseeing compliant solutions for re-cladding works.

With around £45m being spent through the existing framework, what level of spending are you forecasting for the new framework?

The spend through the new framework is likely to be more than the first. We were early to market with the first framework, and landlords were still developing their investment plans.

Many boards have prioritised spending on compliance, and there are some ‘big ticket’ items for which the framework provides solutions, such as re-cladding.

Will Procure Plus’ other frameworks be integrated with the new FRaM framework? If so, how?

The FRaM framework has the ability to interact with Procure Plus’s other frameworks, notably the Materials framework, to offer the ability to provide cost-effective materials such as fire doors direct from suppliers and the Installers framework for projects that have other workstreams in them.

How will your EPI DPS integrate with this new framework?

The External Property Inspection DPS (Dynamic Purchasing System) is complementary to the Fire framework.

It continues to provide specialist contractors and consultants who can drone survey, digitally model buildings, and provide assessment or laboratory services.

Does the current materials shortage and potential skills shortage pose any problems for the new framework?

The framework is designed for specialist contractors who have more direct connections to the supply chains. This mitigates some of the supply chain risk but also has the potential to reduce cost and increase quality.

Procure Plus is a Housing Digital Stakeholder and a social housing regeneration consortium that generates efficiencies by leveraging the procurement of construction materials and contractors.