How Can Property Managers Effectively Navigate The Ever-Changing Face of Façade Compliance?

We are an award-winning RICS building consultancy approaching our fifteenth year of successful trading and the sixth year as a sponsorship partner of the RESI Awards, which is in 2021 celebrating its 10 year anniversary. As the event draws nearer, we look forward to celebrating the outstanding work initiated during an exceptional, transformative and challenging decade for the property industry.

Harris Associates have built up a strong network of property managers that we work with across the UK, so as a lead partner of this years’ RESI Awards, we felt it was very fitting to once again, sponsor the “Property Manager of the Year” category. Over the last three years we have significantly expanded and developed our compliance and related façade services and our reputation and reach has extended from our historic London and Southeast base to across the UK, culminating in the opening of our Manchester office in the Summer.

Each year brings many challenges for property managers and those responsible for effectively maintaining a residential block. Navigating the challenges in respect of compliance and risk assessment requirements can be demanding. With the Fire Safety Act and the anticipated Building Safety Act, the challenges have in recent times been multiplied. This is never more so than in the area of facade assessment, compliance, remediation and identifying contractual responsibility (past and present).

Whereas the path to assessment and remediation for residential blocks that have a storey height above 18 metres is (relatively speaking) now well understood, the wider challenge is actually with those residential buildings that fall underneath the 18 metre threshold. The long term Government loan scheme, which many of us in the sector from the outset did not really fathom how mechanically it would work, has not surprisingly been “put on-hold”. The word on the street is that there is an acknowledgement by authorities that the sub-18 metre residential block UK portfolio is in many ways providing a more complex and nuanced challenge than the 18 metre plus projects that have been / are being granted central Government remediation funding.

This is in part due to the historic failings in respect of Building Regulations compliance, poor standards of workmanship and a lack of responsible and joined-up oversight from those responsible for design, construction and sign off. At Harris Associates, out of the 60 schemes that we are currently dealing with the most challenging are where the residential blocks are circa 5 or 6 storeys (i.e. underneath the 18 metre threshold) in height.

Our expert team at Harris Associates assists property managers, owners, and other stakeholders on all aspects of compliance, insurance and façade related services, including EWS1, façade assessment, MHCLG / DLUHC fund application assistance, remediation assessments and project management and delivery of major remediation contracts. We also provide expert Building Regulations compliance assessments for new and old developments both above and below the 18 metre height level. As part of our due diligence on most remediation instructions, a high degree of forensic investigation into the history of a development is necessary. Tracking down architects, developers, contractors, installers, and manufacturers must be carried out to the fullest extent before agreeing on any course of remedial action.

Our inherent knowledge and expertise as chartered building surveyors and project managers dovetails seamlessly with our in-house engineering and façade expertise. This enables us to add value at every stage and ensures that our guidance and approach are founded on providing proportionate, impartial, balanced, and accurate advice.

We work hand in hand with residential property managers up and down the country and have done so for many years. We understand the nuances of the residential market, and the challenges and pressures have never been so acute. We pride ourselves on our professionalism and our mantra of the answer is always Yes! We put the customer at the centre of what we do, every time.

We have a dedicated team dealing with compliance and façade related services, led by our Managing Director Shaun Harris and our Head of Façade Consultancy Tamer Duman. If you have any questions or queries about anything façade related, please get in touch and we will be happy to help.

You can find further information about our services here