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Contractors see fire safety work jump 50% post-Grenfell

The number of tenders for fire safety work issued by the public sector has soared 56 per cent in the 12 months since the Grenfell Tower fire.

A total of 221 tenders have hit the market since 14 June last year, compared with 142 in the preceding 12 months, according to research by public sector procurement analyst Tussell.

Local government has led demand for fire safety work, with the number of tenders increasing from 49 in the year before the Grenfell fire to 98 in the year since.

Housing associations were the second largest single source of demand, with 39 tenders coming from the sector in the past 12 months.

The majority of the new tenders have been framework agreements, which accounted for nine of the 10 largest.

The biggest single tender came from housing association procurement firm Reallies, which launched a £163m fire risk and mitigation framework in October last year.

In total, the new tenders issued in the past 12 months could represent fire safety works worth up to £661m.

The new data also revealed the biggest winners of fire safety contracts from January 2015 to May 2018, with Engie tooping the list.

The contractor has landed £23m of fire safety work across the three years, with ISG second with £10m.

Tenders picked up by Tussell’s analysis includes remedial and fire compartmentation works on buildings, as well as smoke detector and sprinkler installation and other fire safety works.

Tussell founder Gus Tugendhat said: “It is heartening to see that Grenfell has prompted long overdue investment in fire safety across the wider public sector – particularly in local government.”

Data from the Ministry for Housing Communities and Local Government has showed 159 social housing blocks and 14 non-residential public buildings in England have non-compliant cladding that needs to be replaced.

The government has made £400m available to help cover the cost of this work.

In addition, 138 private residential blocks have so far been found to have non-compliant cladding.

In some cases, there have been disputes between leaseholders and building owners over liability for re-cladding costs.

Housing minister James Brokenshire has warned that the government could intervene in the private sector if such disputes delay re-cladding work.

Last week Construction News revealed Mace was spending £100,000 a month on fire safety officers in some buildings with combustible cladding while it assessed what “remedial measures” were needed.

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