Scottish procurement body endorses new cladding safety measures

21/05/2024
Jennifer Phin (A.C. Whyte)

THE country’s leading procurement body has backed the decision to allow Scottish ministers new powers to tackle unsafe cladding.

The Scottish Procurement Alliance (SPA) has endorsed the new government regulations which is expected to positively transform the standards of cladding on public buildings and make it easier for organisations to identify credible providers.

Scottish ministers will now be able to implement building assessments and enforce necessary improvements, maintain a building register, and establish a responsible developer scheme under the Housing Cladding Remediation Bill.

The government’s decision comes after the not-for-profit organisation awarded places to 27 expert fire safety providers and consultants as part of its revised £25m fire safety framework, FS2.

Lesley Anderson, Regional Director at SPA, said: “We fully support the new cladding remediation bill as it aligns with our ongoing efforts to elevate safety standards across public housing and buildings.

“Our FS2 framework has been developed to support this new Bill and provide our public sector partners with a route to mobilise the necessary actions quickly and effectively to achieve full compliance.  

“This is a key aspect of our commitment to providing safe, compliant, and value-driven solutions to our partners.”

The FS2 framework, instrumental in advancing fire safety measures, includes comprehensive services for assessing and remediating cladding. The framework was specifically designed to address critical safety issues highlighted by the tragic Grenfell Tower fire.

Lesley Anderson added: “Our framework will be pivotal in ensuring that safety measures keep pace with legislative changes. The new cladding bill is a progressive step that will further protect residents and users of public buildings throughout Scotland.

“The Bill will give the power for building assessments to be conducted and enforce any requirements identified and recorded on the register which will feature buildings that require no improvements and where improvements have been identified.

“It will also complement our framework, further validating provider’s suitability to provide the required services by establishing a responsible developers scheme.

“The FS2 framework is agile to manage this updated legislation offering a route to qualified suppliers that are capable of delivering works and services to the expected standard.

“When a framework is developed we conduct thorough engagement with the market to gain a deep understanding of regional requirements, legislation and demand combined with the insight obtained from our regional business units which offer a rich view of the UK-wide landscape.

“This enables us to provide solutions that are comprehensive and provide a strong offering for public sector organisations.”

FS2 merges two previous SPA frameworks, incorporating comprehensive active and passive fire safety measures such as sprinklers, fireproofing and emergency lighting, alongside fire consultancy options nestled into the framework.

SPA hopes that the cladding bill will set a new benchmark for safety standards, reflecting the urgent need for improved fire safety measures in the wake of previous disasters. This is a view shared by contractor A.C. Whyte, which were appointed as a top-ranked provider on the FS2 framework.

Managing Director of A.C. Whyte, Jennifer Phin, said: “The introduction of Scotland’s new Housing Cladding Remediation Bill and its building register – which offers greater transparency, assurance, and a clear quality remediation process – further supports our mission in enhancing the safety of residential and public buildings.

“We look forward to collaborating with our clients and other key partners across the FS2 framework to collectively ensure our buildings are safer and that building owners and residents are well-informed and assured throughout the process.”

SPA’s frameworks are crucial for public sector organisations, allowing them to procure works and services efficiently and effectively, ensuring quality and compliance and achieving the best value for public spend.

The not-for-profits latest framework, the N9 Retrofit and Decarbonisation, is currently open to applications from providers of building insulation and cladding; HVAC and renewables; building management systems and metering; solar PV, battery and EV installers.

It also includes energy consultants specialising in policy and strategy development, multi-disciplinary and management agents and PAS requirements for the development of domestic and commercial heat decarbonisation plans and building audits. Associated with the introduction of the Cladding Remediation Bill the N9 framework will support the installation of rainscreen cladding.

With over 120 partners and supporting 260 suppliers, SPA’s influence spans a vast network of public sector operations, significantly contributing to community safety,well-being and regeneration.

Their commitment is also demonstrated through the Community Benefit Fund, which has distributed over £2 million since 2017 to support local initiatives.

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