In the light of the Grenfell Tower tragedy in June, fire safety has become a high priority across the country. The government has urged all councils and housing associations to assess safety standards and fire risks in social housing – a call to action that we have taken very seriously at ACH.
Over the last 6 months, we have been working on improvements and renovations in most of our properties, including general maintenance of the buildings, and replacement of furniture. This August, ACH board members Abdi Mohamed, Eileen Means and Andy Burkitt visited some of our Bristol houses, to see the results of these renovations, and to assess health and safety standards.
Abdi said: ‘It was a great opportunity to meet some of our tenants, which, as directors, we don’t usually have the chance to do. It was also an opportunity to have a look at the work of our housing team – and ACH generally – and the services we provide.’
The checks also ensured that general living conditions were up to scratch, and that tenants had a hygienic and comfortable place to live. After speaking with tenants, Andy found that they were overall very happy with their housing. ‘The visits went really well and showed the skills we have been using in maintenance and development’, he confirmed in his report on the visit.
As a result, it has been suggested that further board visits should be continued, in our Birmingham and Wolverhampton properties as well as in Bristol.
‘It was good that we got some feedback from the board; they were very satisfied with our work,’ says our Property Manager, Saed Mohamed. ‘We are responsible for the welfare of everyone in our houses, and for making sure they are safe.’
We also ran a Health & Safety training course at the end of August, which covered what to do in a fire, and safety information for work or at home. This helped our tenants to feel safer and more prepared in the event of an emergency. For Fire Door Safety Week at the end of September, we additionally visited 15 properties to check fire doors.
In the next few months, we will be working with Avon Fire Service, who will start offering safety advice to tenants, and will provide training for ACH staff.