White paper on building safety reveals improved management of information for safer homes


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Making UK homes safer with better information

A recent white paper released by construction management software solution leaders Createmaster and Zutec has highlighted the significant role that digital technology plays in enhancing building safety and improving outcomes.

The study titled, “Building Safety in the Digital Age: Embracing Technology for Enhanced Building Information” is now available for access here.

The UK’s changing landscape of building safety

Published in anticipation of the next provisions of the Building Safety Act 2022, set to come into effect in October 2023, the report delves into the transformative journey the UK building industry has undertaken over the past five years.

It provides an in-depth examination of the strides made by asset owners and building operators in managing crucial information to meet regulatory requirements.

Particular emphasis is placed on the UK residential and rental market, corroborated by insights from two national sample surveys conducted with non-freehold tenants.

These surveys offer an understanding of the current resident perspectives on building safety, the availability of information, and service quality.

Understanding resident sentiments towards building safety

One of the standout findings from the paper is a notable increase in resident access to essential building information.

However, the report also acknowledges areas where the industry falls short.

There remain significant challenges in addressing maintenance requests in a timely manner, posing potential safety concerns for residents.

Another trend observed was the 22% spike in resident satisfaction regarding communication from asset owners over an 18-month span.

By 2023, nearly half of the participants demonstrated a better understanding of essential documents like fire certificates, with 90% being aware of the responsible party for these certificates.

Challenges and the road to improved building safety

While there is increased engagement and awareness, transforming this into actionable solutions for defects and damages remains a hurdle.

The majority of the respondents felt that their maintenance requests were not addressed promptly, with many reporting unresolved issues.

A further cause for concern is the decrease in service satisfaction by 10% over the same 18-month period.

The report suggests that residents today are three times more likely to inhabit homes with subpar maintenance.

On a positive note, only 2% of participants in 2023 felt somewhat unsafe in their homes.

This is a marked improvement from 2021, and it’s evident that residents now have a clearer understanding of fire safety protocols.

However, issues such as items stored in corridors, propped open fire doors, and faulty fire alarms still exist and warrant immediate attention.

Envisioning a safer future for UK homes

As the white paper underlines, while there are long-standing issues that still persist, asset owners and facility managers are on the right trajectory towards constructing a safer environment.

One of the central themes highlighted is the value of digital assets.

For the new regulatory landscape, maintaining the highest quality and ensuring safety will hinge on having complete, accurate, and easily accessible building information.

Zutec COO, Emily Hopson-Hill commented: “While there were significant advancements in information provision and communication, the time taken to respond to maintenance remains a sore point for tenants.

“Digitising property information is now a non-negotiable, especially for compliance. The report makes it abundantly clear that there are affordable tools available to ensure accurate, up-to-date building data.”

IFSJ Comment

The insights offered by the recent white paper by Createmaster and Zutec provide a comprehensive snapshot of the current state of building safety in the UK.

The advances in the last five years, especially in the realm of digital technology, offer hope for the future.

However, it’s also a stark reminder that there is much work to be done.

Maintenance issues and fire safety concerns cannot be ignored.

It’s essential that industry stakeholders take note of these findings and work collaboratively to ensure safer homes for UK residents.

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