Council writes to social landlords about fire safety concerns
Hackney Council has written to social landlords across the country, to inform them of issues relating to fire safety work, carried out by former contractors Lakehouse PLC and Polyteck Business Services Ltd, and overseen by its former housing management company, Hackney Homes.
In 2011, Hackney Homes oversaw a programme of fire safety works, including installation of smoke alarms and fire alarms across a number of its properties. The work was carried out by Polyteck as a sub-contractor to Lakehouse.
In 2014, Hackney Council’s Audit and Anti-Fraud team received allegations of fraud and overcharging relating to works carried out by Lakehouse. During subsequent detailed investigations, Hackney Council’s investigation team discovered that some of the fire safety works carried out during this period were defective, including incorrectly fitted fire alarms and emergency lighting systems.
The Council’s primary focus was on the safety of residents, and it ensured, as a matter of priority, that these works were redone to the correct standard, and at the contractor’s own expense. Hackney Council immediately notified the police, and there is an ongoing criminal investigation. Hackney Homes was dissolved in 2016, with responsibility for housing management brought back in house.
Following the horrific fire at Grenfell Tower, Hackney Council has written to all other social landlords, informing of them of issues with fire safety work carried out by former contractors Lakehouse and Polyteck, and overseen by Hackney’s former housing management company, Hackney Homes. Whilst we don't want to cause undue alarm, we want to give other councils the chance to check any works carried out by these companies. The issues in Hackney were uncovered during an ongoing fraud investigation and reported to the Police immediately. A criminal investigation is still underway.
Grenfell and its aftermath raises many issues about the conduct of the construction industry, including sub-contractors, and also about arms-length management arrangements for housing. It is right that Councils and social landlords should work together, share information and support each other to prevent future tragedies, which is why we have taken this action.