A campaigner for the rights of leaseholders affected by the cladding crisis has won a national award sponsored by fire safety specialist CDS in the annual Women in Fire Safety awards.
Deepa Mistry, CEO of Building Safety Crisis, was one of a dozen women working in the fire safety industry presented with awards for their achievements over the past year at a glittering ceremony held near London’s Tower Bridge this month.
Deepa, winner of the educational award, was behind a campaign pushing for changes to the law to protect leaseholders from bearing financial responsibility for structural shortcomings on their properties.
While some of the changes were enshrined in the Building Safety Act 2022 which came into force in June this year, Deepa’s organisation continues to campaign for more stringent protection.
Deepa’s success was just one of several to be celebrated at the event, with other categories recognising the year’s diversity champion, international woman of the year and influencer of the year.
Women in Fire Safety, which aims to encourage more women to choose a career in the industry, also educates younger people about career opportunities and is helping the sector become more progressive.
The award was presented by CDS MD Simon Abley. Fellow guests included CDS national sales manager Sophie Kelly, business development managers Olivia Verner and Stacey McAlwane, projects administrator Marie Mason and office and compliance manager Louise Andrews from CDS’ sister company Drax 360.
Sophie said: “The support and visibility of organisations such as Women in Fire Safety is vital. We are lucky at CDS to have a number of women working in the company and I hope this number continues to rise so it becomes the norm to have a balance of women and men in the industry.”
Olivia added “CDS are amazing supporters of women in the industry and I am more than proud to be working for them. There were so many inspirational people around us at the event. It was great to see so much energy in the room.”
CDS has been heavily involved in designing, supplying, installing and maintaining complex fire safety detection systems in multi-storey residential blocks, many with numerous lifts, for several decades.
These include buildings for student, private rental and housing association tenants across the UK.
The Waking Watch Relief Fund’s launch now means those not yet protected with technologically advanced fire alarm systems may be able to dispense with costly foot patrols in favour of a safer state-of-the-art alternative.
Deepa, whose campaign has won international support, said “The #BuildingSafetyCrisis campaign started with a wish to unite isolated residents feeling the impact of fire safety following the #Grenfell tragedy. It evolved into a need to raise our voices and increase protection for those stuck in the crisis. The #PolluterPays campaign was incredibly successful at influencing government policy to take a hard look at and improve current standards. It has the ability to globally reform building and safety standards, and is still much needed.
“We are grateful the government has included protection through the waterfall for non-cladding issues, as this was found to be just as extensive as cladding defects. The Polluter Pays campaign has been internationally acknowledged and we are continuing to push for full protection for all homeowners, and not just a sticking plaster. It’s very important that we have long term building standards reform. Without this, we can expect to see the same problems recurring.
“The Building Safety Act and Fire Safety Act may have passed, yet leaseholders are still excluded from protection and problem still exists. We continue to push for improvement and reform, in the hope we do not see further tragedies.
“Everyone deserves a safe and secure home regardless of social status. Let’s work together to ensure this is provided for future generations.”