The £1bn fund, which was introduced as part of the March budget last year, aims to support the remediation of unsafe non-ACM cladding on residential buildings that are 18 metres and over.
In December the deadline for applications to the fund was extended to 30 June this year, with the ‘start on site’ date moving to 30 September 2021.
The Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government Christopher Pincher (pictured) said that the timelines for the fund were “intended to incentivise building owners to speed up plans to identify and remediate unsafe buildings” but that meeting the deadlines may not be possible.
He explained: “The deadlines for the fund have been set based on what we know about registrants and their readiness to be able to deliver projects. We recognise, however, that meeting these deadlines may not be possible in all circumstances, for instance where applicants find that they do, in order to meet the 30 June deadline, to submit full applications for grant funding.”
Pincher added: “More time may be permitted on a case-by-case basis, providing applicants continue to keep delivery partners fully informed and provide them with realistic timetables.”
However, he urged registrants to continue to “maximise the pace of remediation” so “remedial works are carried out as soon as possible”.
He also reiterated the government’s pledge in February for an additional £3.5bn funding to rectify non-safe ACM cladding.
Pincher added that the government was currently working on the details of a finance scheme to compensate leaseholders in buildings of between 11 and 18 metres in height.
He said: “We are working to develop the underpinning details of the finance scheme to ensure it protects leaseholders, prioritising affordability and accelerating remediation. Further detail on the finance scheme will be made available as soon as possible.”
The industry has criticised the government previously for not providing an actual timeline to remove cladding. This is despite repeated warnings form the government to building owners, including naming and shaming building owners who have not fixed cladding.
Analysis from the Labour party earlier this month revealed that cladding remediation could take 22 years.
It noted that between May 2020 and April 2021 an average of eight buildings a month had had their cladding removed, and a further 2,017 were on the waiting list.