Government launches £1bn fund to remove dangerous cladding from high-rise buildings

by: Mary-Anne Bowring/Development Finance Today

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A new government fund of £1bn is set to meet the cost for remediation of unsafe, non-ACM cladding on residential buildings that are 18 meters and over.

The fund is mostly targeted at supporting leaseholders in the private sector facing large bills. For leaseholders living in buildings owned by providers in the social sector, it will provide funding to meet the provider’s costs, which would have otherwise been borne by the leaseholder.

The government expects landlords to cover these costs without increasing rent. Building owners who are already remediating their buildings are asked to explore every opportunity to fund the work before seeking government funding or passing on costs to leaseholders. Applications can be progressed alongside the development of the remediation project. An amendment to statutory guidance to building safety regulations has also been published, ensuring sprinkler systems and consistent wayfinding signage is mandatory in all new high-rise blocks over 11 meters tall. Housing Secretary, Robert Jenrick, stated: “…I am launching our £1bn fund to remove unsafe non-ACM cladding from buildings.

“This is a work that must take place as an absolute priority to keep residents safe and brings total funding for remediation up to £1.6bn. “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.” Building safety minister, Lord Greenhalgh added: “Now that this additional £1bn funding is in place, building owners must crack on with removing flammable cladding on all high-rise residential buildings that are over 18 meters.

“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.” Mary-Anne Bowring, group managing director at Ringley, commented: “The launch of the new £1bn fund from the government to remove unsafe non-ACM cladding is finally some welcome news to those who know they've been living in dangerous buildings for years, but the truth is the money may not be enough. “The government needs to support the removal of non-ACM cladding from buildings that are under 18 meters as well, as there is currently no support in place for those living in these types of buildings across the UK.

"Separately, with the government looking to kickstart the housing market post-lockdown, one area of focus should be helping leaseholders and flat owners unable to sell as they cannot secure an EWS1 form proving their building is safe. “This means boosting testing capacity, and that again may require additional government funding."


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