David Carr, Managing Director of Propeller, discusses the new PROP-FS app that helps landlords meet Social Housing Charter requirements and Building Safety Bill regulations
Propeller’s newest development – PROP-FS – is an innovative software solution that helps housing organisations to fully manage Fire Risk Assessments, alongside fire-door maintenance and inspection programmes, through an app and dashboard.
Importantly, the software includes action management, and its release has been fast-tracked in response to the far-reaching implications of current draft legislation following the Grenfell Inquiry.
The publication of the Social Housing White Paper in November last year places the spotlight firmly on landlord’s responsibilities to tenants. It encompasses similar themes to those included in the Fire Safety Bill, currently being scrutinised in the House of Lords; and the Building Safety Bill, published in draft form in August 2020.
The report behind the Social Housing White Paper was hailed at its inception by then Communities Secretary Sajid Javid as the “most substantial report of its kind for a generation”.
Meanwhile, the Building Safety Bill is described by the Housing Secretary as “the biggest change to our building safety regime for 40 years”, and the implications of both are far-reaching for urban housing associations and local authorities in particular.
“PROP-FS can enhance tenant communications and workflow management, and the reporting dashboard is a fantastic tool for board directors who need reliable and real time oversight of all of the fire doors within their responsibility”
Yet, new research shows that a third of housing bosses expect their organisations will need more than two years to get up to speed with the Bill’s requirements.
Fire safety is identified within all three sources as a top priority. Figures released for Fire Door Safety Week in September based on responses from 147 UK local authorities show that 60% delayed fire door maintenance and inspection programmes in the first half of 2020, affecting nearly 10,000 properties.
Almost two thirds of the 26,318 planned fire-door maintenance and replacement tasks scheduled to take place did not progress as planned, with almost a third still pending action dates.
Driven by improving tenant safety, key to the changes outlined across the three sources are more care in servicing and maintenance, improved communications with tenants, and increased transparency in reporting.
QR codes and asset tagging
PROP-FS is a fully cloud-based system, allocating a unique asset tag to every fire door within a property, linked with QR codes scannable by attending engineers for real time updates within the overall system. It’s been specifically developed to work offline as well as online, taking into account the poor connectivity or low network signal in many buildings.
“Our role is to help our clients to work more efficiently and effectively, and ultimately to act responsibly towards their tenants and their safety”
From quarterly to annual inspection plans, instant access to the full property history, full records and compliance reports, PROP-FS can also be set up to provide engineers, contractors and management staff with access to organise remedial works and inspection planning.
Dave Carr, managing director at Manchester-based Propeller Powered says: “Our role is to help our clients to work more efficiently and effectively, and ultimately to act responsibly towards their tenants and their safety.
“As soon as the draft bill was published in August of last year, we started to develop a tool that would help social landlords to deliver better service to their tenants, comply with the new regulations and relieve the administrative burden.”
The company is currently piloting use of PROP-FS with three social housing associations.
Power to the people
With increased transparency a key objective of the Social Housing White Paper and the Building Safety Bill, Propeller’s Fire Door & FRA Compliance Dashboard provides all key stakeholders with a real-time view on Fire Compliance, available anytime, anywhere.
The portal can also be extended across other areas of compliance including gas, electrical, legionella and LOLER.
Tenants can also access vital safety information about their building, including a summary of a fire door’s service history, through Tenant QR codes. They can use the codes to instantly raise issues about specific doors, and upload photographs to the Propeller system, triggering automated tasks that are flagged for action.
Carr describes the new app as “a fully-functional test and trace system for fire doors, giving social housing landlords a complete property asset condition and service history, all of which is fully auditable.
“PROP-FS can enhance tenant communications and workflow management, and the reporting dashboard is a fantastic tool for board directors who need reliable and real time oversight of all of the fire doors within their responsibility – now more than ever.”
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