Swiftclean’s social housing team focuses on the total hygiene needs of the sector, including; extract ventilation refurbishment, duct cleaning, fire safety and compliance, water hygiene improvements and legionella assessments and control.
Swiftclean works closely with research organisations and many commercial partners in order to fully understand the needs of those operating in this sector including: local authorities, facilities managers, managing agents, councils, ALMOs, main contractors, housing associations, consultants and tenants’ committees.
Your Legal Responsibility
Local authorities and social housing landlords are required to conduct a risk assessment for hot and cold water systems to address all potential hazards – including legionella – and then weigh up the risk. Water storage tanks are a potential breeding ground for legionella and must be regularly cleaned in compliance with L8, BSRIA and CIBSE guidelines to prevent outbreaks of the life threatening illness which can be caused by this bacteria. You must be able to demonstrate through documentation that all practicable steps have been taken to address the risks associated with water. Find out more about Legionella Compliance and Legionella Control.
Ductwork that forms part of the common extract system can also be a route for smoke and fire to transfer throughout a building, so keeping it clean is very important. These systems must be cleaned regularly to ensure efficient extraction minimises the risk of toxic mould from forming in poorly ventilated properties and reducing the risk of fire. As much social housing is in medium to high rise buildings, the issues of fire prevention and enhancing air quality are exacerbated and Swiftclean has been providing solutions to this sector for more than 30 years. Find out more about Ventilation Compliance and Duct Cleaning.
Under the terms of the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005, it is a legal requirement for those responsible for tower blocks in England and Wales to conduct a suitable and sufficient fire-risk assessment on the buildings they own or manage. The Government’s ‘Fire Safety Risk Assessment’ guide for Sleeping Accommodation stipulates that this applies to common areas of houses in multiple occupation and common areas of flats and maisonettes including ductwork. The presence of a restaurant or café on the ground floor of a high rise social housing estate brings home to building managers just how vulnerable tenants can be to fire spread through ducting from a ground floor kitchen fire. Find out more about Kitchen Extract Compliance and Kitchen Extract Cleaning for fire safety.
Another very important passive fire prevention measure is the regular testing, cleaning and maintenance of fire dampers. These are metal louvres which can open and close and are installed across the ductwork to form a temporary barrier when closed but allow the free flow of air when open. You may not even be aware that your ventilation system has fire dampers, but they fulfil a very important function, so you must be sure that they are in working order.
In the event of a fire travelling through ductwork, the fire damper must close, to restrict the oxygen supply to the fire and create a barrier which slows the spread of the fire. This buys valuable time in which to safely evacuate residents, visitors and staff, especially the more vulnerable and less mobile.
There are different types of fire damper; some are spring operated, some have fuseable links and there are other designs which are remotely operated. All types must be regularly tested, using a method known as drop testing, cleaned and maintained. According to recently updated guidance, BS9999:2017, all fire dampers must now be tested at no more than twelve month intervals.
We can help you locate your fire dampers, create access to inaccessible fire dampers then drop test, clean and maintain them for compliance. More information can be found on our fire dampers page.
Laundry extract systems should form part of the building manager’s fire risk assessment and are covered by the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005. This advises that laundry extract systems should be regularly inspected and the ductwork cleaned in order to prevent fires. Failure to do so may be construed as negligence and may also compromise your insurance cover, as well as impacting your workers’ health and putting them at increased risk from fire.
Swiftclean Services for the Social Housing Sector
Swiftclean has a long and dependable track record of providing efficient, effective and legally compliant cleaning services for Social Housing properties in areas of:
Swiftclean’s social housing team can provide a one stop shop for all aspects of water and air hygiene in multi-occupancy residential buildings.
Contact us today to speak to one of our expert advisors and find out more about our Social Housing Sector services.