The UK government has recently issued the "Code of Practice for the Remediation of Residential Buildings," commonly referred to as the Government Code of Remediation. The ‘Code’ outlines a legal framework that sets guidelines to be followed throughout the life cycle of remediation projects.
Read on to discover the insights into the Code's core components and explain how it impacts cladding remediation.
Understanding the Government Code of Remediation
The Government Code of Remediation is structured into four parts: the scope; undertaking remediation; living with remediation; and general compliance. Each part addresses key aspects of cladding remediation projects, to mitigate fire safety risks that are present within buildings that feature external cladding whilst ensuring the safety and satisfaction of residents. It applies to buildings regardless of occupancy levels, whether fully, partially, or temporarily occupied.
The Code puts residents at the heart of remediation. It is a direct response to the Grenfell tragedy, designed to protect residents from potential fire hazards and ensure their concerns are acknowledged throughout the remediation process.
Roles, Responsibilities And Accountability
The Code mandates that roles and responsibilities related to remediation must be clearly outlined and understood by all parties involved in the project. This includes contractors, developers, building owners, tenants, residents, and management companies, so each party knows its duties and is held accountable. Parties involved in the project cannot avoid Code compliance by delegating or subcontracting their obligations.
Effective Communication and Active Engagement
It’s stated in the Code that good communication needs to be maintained from the outset of the project so that residents remain informed and sufficient transparency is achieved. Proper channels should be implemented to ensure that residents can meaningfully engage in the decision-making process. The Code acknowledges potential language barriers and encourages the use of electronic forums to ensure information is disseminated efficiently. Residents should be kept up-to-date with project developments, enabling them to contribute and participate in the design and delivery of the project.
Minimising Impact On Residents
A significant focus within the Code is on minimising the impact of remedial works on residents. Contractors and developers are expected to take measures to reduce disturbances from on-site activity, including noise, dust, and general inconvenience so that disturbances to the residents are kept to a minimum. Balancing health and safety considerations with cost and time factors is another key pillar of Part 3 of the Code. The goal is to create the least inconvenience to the residents and achieve potential cost savings for contractors and developers.
Mental and Physical Health Of Residents
Acknowledging the potential impact on residents' mental and physical health, the Code mandates careful consideration and documentation of these aspects throughout recladding projects. This additional step of record-keeping holds parties accountable for their actions and highlights the seriousness of their responsibilities.
Revaluating Your Access Method
The Government Code of Remediation sets a high standard for remediation projects with a key goal to minimise the effect recladding has on the residents. The core objective of the Code revolves around mitigating the impact on residents' homes and common facilities, while concurrently prioritising the safety and security of the building and its inhabitants.
In this context, the Code calls into question the appropriateness of using scaffolding for extended periods. A two-year presence of scaffolding, according to the principles outlined in the Code, appears incongruent with the commitment to minimise impact and ensure safety, particularly concerning security issues and prolonged inconveniences for residents.
left: view within from under the scaffold, right: mast climbers in a cladding remediation
The document is a challenge to traditional practices and encourages different stakeholders to evaluate their choice of access method to ensure they align with the Code's principles of resident well-being, safety, and security.
The Code prioritises residents' safety and well-being (mental and physical health)
The Code mandates a clear definition and understanding of roles and responsibilities for all parties involved.
Accountability is enforced, preventing parties from evading their compliance responsibilities through delegation.
Continuous and transparent communication is essential from the project's start.
The Code encourages the use of electronic forums to overcome language barriers.
Residents are encouraged to engage in decision-making processes, promoting their involvement in project design and delivery.
The Code focuses on reducing disturbances from on-site activities, such as noise, dust, and inconvenience.
Balancing health and safety considerations with cost and time factors is a key goal.
The Code requires careful consideration and documentation of the impacts cladding remediations have on residents, holding different parties accountable for their actions.
The Code-Compliant Socially Responsible Access Solutions – Mast Climbers
The Code strongly advocates against unnecessary reductions in natural light and ventilation, emphasising the need for briefness in unavoidable reductions. Scaffolding, often in place for extended periods, instantly falls short of this Code requirement. In contrast, mast climbers provide a solution with their quick setup and minimal interference with light and ventilation.
Additionally, the Code encourages measures to minimise the impact of works requiring access to residents' homes and common areas. Innovative approaches, such as drop-down steps onto balconies, reduce the need for direct access to residents' flats during remedial works.
The Code also required reasonable steps to be taken to ensure the safety and security of the building and the residents, whilst scaffolding is basically a giant climbing frame that raises security concerns among residents. Described as "ladders for cat burglars" by concerned residents, it stands in great contrast to the safety and security offered by scaffolding alternatives like mast climbers.
Mast climbers have been proven to significantly enhance the efficiency of cladding projects whilst remaining socially responsible, making MCWPs adoption a wise decision whenever feasible. To determine whether your cladding project leverages the advantages of mast climbers, consult with a vertical access expert. Experts at BFT can help you assess your project's unique needs and develop a tailored access solution that aligns perfectly with your project requirements.
All BFT mast climbers comply with Work at Height, Manual Handling, and Health & Safety regulations, ready to deploy from two national distribution centres in Bedfordshire and Manchester. Don't settle for less when better options are available. Speak with an MCWP expert today and discover how mast climbers can help.