Salix Homes CEO joins building safety expert panel

Salix Homes CEO Sue Sutton joined a panel of industry experts – including Dame Judith Hackitt – to discuss building safety at a national conference.

Sue was at the UKREiiF (UK Real Estate Investment and Infrastructure Forum) annual event, which took place in Leeds from May 21-23, where she participated in a question and answer session hosted by Salix Homes’ partner contractor – Casey.

The session – Building Safety – Leadership and Culture, Implementing Change and Delivering Success – addressed key building safety issues including the new Building Safety Act, the need for culture change within the housing and construction sectors, and the importance of engagement and communication between landlords and residents living in high rise or high-risk buildings.

On the discussion panel was Dame Judith Hackitt who led a review into building and fire safety regulations following the Grenfell Tower tragedy on June 14, 2017. Her report paved the way for major reforms to improve building safety standards, with the introduction of the new Building Safety Act and the Building Safety Regulator.

During the discussion, Dame Judith made a renewed call for change across the sector, and a stop to poor culture, practices and workmanship.

Sue Sutton, who is also Chair of the Greater Manchester Housing Providers (GMHP) Building Safety Group, said: “With the new building safety regime now established, and new laws and safety standards in place, it was an honour to sit alongside Dame Judith Hackitt and other leading figures in building safety to discuss some of these critical issues.

“Since the Grenfell Tower tragedy, Salix Homes has been at the forefront of building safety – raising standards within our own properties, advising government bodies on future recommendations and piloting and implementing the reforms in the Building Safety Act.

“We want our customers to feel safe in their homes as well as feel informed about building safety matters and empowered to get involved in discussions and report safety concerns to us.

“While we’re proud to be leading the way, we recognise that building safety is a continuous journey of improvement. As we approach the seven-year anniversary of the Grenfell tragedy, we remain committed to sharing our learning with others and continuing to develop and raise our own standards to ensure all our buildings continue to be safe places to live, both now and in the future.”

Salix Homes was one of the first housing associations to achieve Building a Safer Future Charter Champion Status – a national benchmark, awarded in recognition of our commitment to building safety and culture change. Casey was also the tenth organisation in the country to be awarded the status.

Elizabeth Everett, Head of Partnerships at Casey, said: “Partnering with Salix Homes as ‘Early Adopters’, demonstrated the true value of collaboration and a shared mission to do the right thing.

“Our ability to respond effectively following the Grenfell tragedy was enabled by a relationship based on trust, transparency, and competence of the whole project team. We learnt quickly, adapting to an uncertain and unprecedented situation, collectively sourcing solutions and managing unknowns. Culture and competency were critical to achieving successful outcomes.”

Earlier this year, Salix Homes launched our new Building Safety Customer Engagement Strategy, which puts our customers firmly at the centre of our approach to building safety. We’ve also created a new area on our website where our customers living in our 20 high rise blocks across Salford can access key safety and building information about their home.

Visit our Building Safety pages to find out more.

The session at UKREiiF was chaired by Gary Townsend Vila, Interim Chief Executive at Building a Safer Future. Also sat on the panel were Brian Knowles, Casey Construction Manager; Helen Fisher, Programme Director Cladding Safety Scheme at Homes England; Laura Hughes, Assistant Director at Association of British Insurers, and Andy Wan, Director at BTP Architects.