Contractor COVID-19 Update

Update Published 24.03.20

We very much hope you and your loved ones are safe, healthy and coping with the big changes COVID-19 has brought into our lives. Our most immediate priority is the health and safety of our staff and therefore, in line with the Government guidelines, as of 24th March 2020 all HML group offices are now closed until further notice.

With our staff fully equipped to work and support you remotely, our ‘Business Continuity Plan’ is to maintain services to our clients, whilst limiting the risk to both clients and contractors alike. With ever-changing staff levels, in different geographical locations, we must ensure that we are only reactive on essential and emergency works.

To ensure the best level of communication we ask that you contact the Essential Services team via email at CAS@hmlgroup.com. Please state your trading name, contact telephone number, email address and a brief summary of your query. A representative from HML will respond as soon as possible.

Work orders will now highlight ‘Emergency Works’ or ‘Vital Works’ so that contractors can keep this with them when attending jobs. Access will need to be provided by someone already on-site and full contact details will be provided. We care about the health and safety of our contractors and therefore recommend that you adopt social distancing whilst on-site. We will also confirm whether we have been made aware if anyone in the property in need of service, is not feeling well and/or is in self-quarantine, to ensure the safety and well-being of everyone.

Please ensure that all invoices are now submitted electronically to purchase.ledger@hmlgroup.com.

Any invoices sent via post to the HML offices will not be received and therefore we cannot accept responsibility for late payment.

For further information and updates please continue to visit the HML website.

Best wishes,

The HML Team

Income Support Scheme

On 26th March 2020, the UK Government announced its plan to support our self-employed workforce many of whom have been affected by Covid-19. The Income Support Scheme will allow the self-employed (incl. site cleaners, contractors and suppliers etc.) to claim a taxable grant worth 80% of trading profits up to a maximum of £2,500 per month for the next 3 months. This may be extended if needed.

Please follow the link to visit the UK Government guidance page.

The HMRC will invite those eligible to apply online. Individuals do not need to contact HMRC now and doing so may delay the urgent work being undertaken to introduce the scheme.

On 2nd April 2020, the Government announced changes to the Building Regulations to reform fire safety within the residential block industry. The changes which are expected to come into force in May 2020, are in response to Dame Hackitt’s review and the Grenfell Tower enquiry into building safety.

The new measures announced include;

  • Mandatory installation of sprinklers in all new high-rise blocks over 11 metres (4 storeys).
  • Consistent ‘wayfinding signage’ in high rise blocks.
  • Commissioning a full technical review of Building Regulations Approved Document B (Fire Safety).

Additionally, the Government’s proposed Fire Safety Bill – expected to come into force in October this year, sets out to clarify elements of The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005. Particularly that the ‘responsible person’ of a residential block must manage and reduce the risk of fire for;

  • The structure and external walls of the building, including cladding, balconies and windows
  • Entrance doors to individual flats that open into the common parts.

A new national Building Safety Regulator is being formed as an off-shoot of the Health and Safety Executive. They will play a key role in regulating and enforcing safety within residential blocks which will include;

  • Implementing and enforcing a more stringent regulatory regime for higher risk buildings.
  • Increasing the competency of those working on building safety.
  • Responsibility for all major regulatory decisions made at key points during construction, occupation and refurbishment of buildings.
  • Promotion and enforcing the rights of residents to receive information about the safety of their building.

Summary

Following these much-needed reforms, there are going to be several changes to how the safety of our blocks are managed. Communication with clients and leaseholders will be key in managing these new measures, whether it’s explaining to a leaseholder why their door might need to change, or that access to the sprinkler system within their flat is needed.

Further details of the Government’s announcement can be found here.