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Jenrick says ‘no excuses’ for building owners despite cladding fund shortfall

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  • 26/05/2020
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Jenrick says ‘no excuses’ for building owners despite cladding fund shortfall
Housing secretary Robert Jenrick has said he will not accept any excuses from building owners who are yet to begin works to remove unsafe aluminium composite material (ACM) from high-rise buildings as he announced the launch of a £1bn fund to finance works.

 

Jenrick made the statement despite estimates that the fund will cover only around one third of the necessary private rented sector work required to make buildings safe.

The money is only available to properties 18 metres and over in the private and social sector and is predominantly targeted to support private leaseholders with significant bills, the government said. 

For leaseholders living in buildings owned by providers in the social sector, the government will provide funding to meet the provider’s costs which would otherwise have been supported by leaseholders.  

It is expected that these costs must be covered without landlords increasing rent for tenants.  

The government is already providing £600m for the replacement of aluminium composite material (ACM) cladding systems, bringing the total funding for remediation up to £1.6bn. 

Ministers have said they expect building owners who are already remediating buildings to continue to do so. They have also been urged to explore other avenues to source funding before seeking money from the government or passing on costs to leaseholders.  

Building owners, freeholders or others responsible for the building have been asked to register for the fund today as applications can be progressed alongside remediation works.

 

Safety and sprinklers

The government has also published an amendment to the statutory guidance to building safety regulations to ensure sprinkler systems and consistent wayfinding signs are mandatory in all new high-rise blocks over 11 metres tall. 

The guidance – Approved Document B – comes into force on 29 November. 

The housing secretary, mayors and local leaders have also asked that building safety works continue during the coronavirus pandemic, with priorities given to those living in high-rise buildings with unsafe cladding or insufficient fire safety measures. 

Jenrick said: “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 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. 

Our 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,” he added. 

However, campaigners have warned the funding will leave many people unprotected as the government’s own estimate shows it will cover barely a third of the required work in the private rented sector.

 

 

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