The JIT is the national fire safety Joint Inspection Team, which is hosted by the LGA, and funded by DLUHC.
The team inspects blocks using the Housing Act 2004 and associated powers of the 'host authority'. The JIT assesses the fire hazard and advises the ‘host’ council via an extensive report and Housing Health and Safety Rating System (HHSRS) risk assessment. Where there are serious problems, councils usually take enforcement action against landlords, using the evidence from JIT. The team can provide advice on wording of Improvement Notices and assistance with any subsequent appeals to the first-tier tribunal.
JIT is a multidisciplinary team with a fire engineer, a building control surveyor and a team of environmental health professionals. The team is supported by intelligence officers and external legal advisors.
The remit of the team has been widened to cover all combustible cladding, and to provide council staff with training to enhance their understanding of fire hazards. It is hoped that trained council staff will have greater confidence in their own inspections and enforcement action. Subject blocks must be over 17.7m, measured from the lowest outside ground level to the highest occupied floor (which may include any roof garden or mezzanine in a duplex flat if applicable).
The team have drafted standard letters for use in Housing Act 2004 investigation & enforcement work, these can be found by joining our dedicated page on Knowledge hub (KHub). Included on the hub is a list of recommended phrases about blocks that may be used in enforcement action. On KHUB there is a guidance note and flowchart on how to tackle large numbers of potentially combustible clad residential blocks, which was developed through the London Councils Private Residential Blocks Group.
Only staff with a ‘.gov.uk’ email address or those working in the social housing sector will be allowed access to KHub. If you are interested, please apply for access to the High Rise Residential Building Safety group
HHSRS worked examples
You can access a series of HHSRS worked examples of tall buildings through membership of KHub. More will be added throughout the year. You should get at least weekly updates from KHub as they are added.
The team provide three training courses currently:
- Level one: The 'building surveyor' first covers some of the basics of external wall systems, including the basics of tall building construction. The 'Fire Engineer' then delivers an introduction to the principles fire safety in tall buildings. A section is then delivered by the building surveyor on the building regulations and approved document B. Finally, the principal EHO delivers a section on pre-inspection documentation, a section on how to work in a multidisciplinary team and concludes with an HHSRS assessment and further enforcement.
- Level two: This is about an HHSRS inspection of a fictional building called “Castel Towers”. A YouTube video and pre-course learning is provided by the fire safety joint inspection team two weeks ahead of the training day. Attendees need to watch the hour-long video and read the intelligence provided (fire risk assessment and fire strategy). Attendees are also asked to do their own HHSRS assessment, prior to attending the course. During the live training session (three hours), the JIT discuss their scoring of it, what evidence was provided and what evidence is still needed. The building score is shared, together with an explanation of how the score was reached. We then compare the JIT score with the scores of attendees via an online application. The level two course is interactive with attendees contributing their thoughts and questions. During the last part of the training the principal EHO goes through the composition of an Improvement Notice relating to the building.
- Level two (a): HHSRS inspection of a different real building. A fire safety joint inspection team YouTube video and pre-course learning is provided, two weeks ahead of the training day. Attendees are tasked with completing their own HHSRS assessment prior to attending the course. During the online training (three hours), the JIT discusses how they scored it, the evidence available and any evidence still needed. The building is scored and an explanation is given of how the score was reached. We then compare scores via an online application. The last part of the training the principal EHO goes through the composition of an Improvement Notice relating to the building.
All JIT advice, inspections and training is free to public sector employees.