Project | FFT Building Surveys Case Study MTVH London

Metropolitan Thames Valley Housing Association

Intrusive Building Surveys for MTVH

FFT was appointed by long term client Metropolitan Thames Valley (MTV) to manage intrusive surveys of their building stock. The aim was to allow a fire safety and compliance assessment of the internal fabric and external wall construction to be undertaken by the client’s own Fire Consultant and Forensic Architect.

The Client

Metropolitan Thames Valley (MTV) is a long term client of FFT. They provide affordable housing across London, the South East, East Midlands and the East of England, managing in the region of 38,000 homes.

In addition, the organization provides a range of care and support services, specializing in older people, mental health, and transitional services for vulnerable people.

A member of the National Housing Federation and Chair of the G15, MTV influences policy for the benefits of its residents and the wider sector.

Services Provided

  • Building Surveying/Surveys

The Project

We were commissioned to oversee intrusive building stock surveys, carrying out quality control checks to ensure high standards throughout the works. The surveys called for extensive opening- up works so that the Fire Consultant and Forensic Architect had a clear path to carry out the necessary technical assessments.

Our Role

As well as overseeing the works from a quality control perspective, we were also tasked with managing contractor operations. This role involved ensuring the contractor fully understood the brief and worked to best standards.

We also undertook a health and safety related role. With the properties occupied, this was very important, and making sure reinstatement works following the opening-up works were completed to safety standards and provided the required level of fire performance was our responsibility.

The Challenges

One of the biggest challenges concerned the logistics of undertaking such extensive and intrusive investigations within fully occupied dwellings, and with limited time.

To further complicate matters, the building stock was composed of varying construction types, with no as-built data available for any of the properties. This meant that we’d have to allow the Fire Consultant the opportunity to determine which areas would need to be investigated, ahead of us organising the surveys.

What’s more, the works involved the removal of wall and ceiling linings to ascertain the composition of the materials and their ability to resist fire. This meant the works were to be very disruptive for the occupants, which called for careful planning, and highly specialist teams.

There was also a necessity to reinstate all fire safety measures at the end of each working day so that the returning occupant would not face unnecessary risk.

The Outcome

We came up with a solution that involved pre- inspections of all of the properties. This allowed us to determine the required resourcing and access plant for each inspection, as well as to identify in advance any restrictions in terms of access, any licensing requirements, and any specific construction details that may have called for specialist equipment.

This approach would help us to reduce the potential for any unexpected setbacks on inspection day.

We also liaised closely with the Fire Consultant and Forensic Architect to better understand their anticipated requirements, ensuring we would not have any access issues on the day.

Further, we made sure that all parties involved were well-prepared ahead of each working day courtesy of clear briefings, and that our specialist team of contractors were equipped with the correct tools and had adequate training.

In addition, we carried out extensive monitoring to make sure all opening-up and reinstatement works were completed to the highest standards of quality and safety.

Added Value

We took full responsibility for ensuring our client’s Fire Consultant and Forensic Architect were able to obtain all the information they needed for each inspection.

This we did by getting our team onsite well before the contractor arrived, maximizing time on site to get as much work done as possible, adopting a flexible approach, addressing any concerns in a timely manner, and keeping communications flowing between all involved parties.

With the project now complete, residents have full peace of mind that they are living in safe and secure accommodation, and MTV is satisfied that their property is standards compliant.