10:12 AM, 27th May 2020, About A year ago
Building owners have been urged to act and put the safety of residents first as the government’s £1 billion Building Safety Fund to remove dangerous cladding was launched by Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick.
It comes as the government published the prospectus for the fund which will meet the cost for remediation of unsafe non-ACM cladding systems on residential buildings in the private and social sector that are 18 metres and over and do not comply with building regulations.
This fund is predominately targeted at supporting leaseholders in the private sector facing significant bills. However, the government is clear that for leaseholders living in buildings owned by providers in the social sector, it will provide funding to meet the provider’s costs which would otherwise have been borne by leaseholders. The government expects landlords to cover these costs without increasing rent for their tenants.
The government’ is already providing £600 million for the replacement of ACM cladding systems bringing total funding for remediation up to £1.6 billion.
Ministers have been clear that they expect building owners who are already remediating their buildings should continue to do so. They should explore every opportunity to fund this work before seeking funding from government or passing on costs to their leaseholders.
The fund’s application process has been designed to enable projects to proceed at pace with building owners, freeholders or others responsible for the building urged to register for the fund on Monday as applications can be progressed alongside the development of the remediation project.
It comes as the government has also published an amendment to the statutory guidance to building safety regulations – otherwise known as Approved Document B. These changes will ensure sprinkler systems and consistent wayfinding signage are mandatory in all new high-rise blocks over 11 metres tall when they come into force.
The Housing Secretary, mayors and local leaders have also pledged to ensure vital building safety improvements continue during the coronavirus pandemic.
This will ensure the safety of those living in high-rise buildings with unsafe cladding or insufficient fire safety measures is prioritised.
Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick MP said: “Today I am launching our £1 billion fund to remove unsafe non-ACM cladding from buildings. This is work that must take place as an absolute priority to keep residents safe and brings total funding for remediation up to £1.6 billion.
“I will not accept any excuses from building owners who have yet to take action and those responsible should register for the fund so that they can start the remediation process immediately. I have also reached an agreement with local leaders so that this important work can continue safely during the pandemic.
“New statutory guidance published today also means that all new residential buildings over 11 metres tall will be fitted with sprinkler systems. This is another critical part of our commitment to delivering the biggest changes to building safety for a generation.”
Building Safety Minister Lord Greenhalgh said: “Now that this additional £1 billion funding is in place, building owners must crack on with removing flammable cladding on all high-rise residential buildings that are over 18 metres.
“The government will work with the Mayor of London and our Metro Mayors as well as local councils to ensure that these vital building safety works are finally carried out, so that people are safe in their homes.”
The Fire Safety Bill, which was introduced to Parliament last month, will empower fire and rescue services to take enforcement action and hold building owners to account if they do not comply with law.
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