Home Improvement

Few Plans to Support Residents Affected by Cladding and Some Other Building Safety Issues

In the wake of the Grenfell Tower tragedy in 2017, the UK government has launched several initiatives aimed at supporting residents affected by cladding and other building safety issues.

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Here are some of the plans and programs that have been put in place:

1. Building a safety fund

In May 2020, the government announced a £1 billion Building Safety Fund which also includes a cladding remediation fund to remove dangerous cladding from high-rise residential buildings (18 meters or higher).

The fund is available to leaseholders in buildings that were built and approved before 2018. The government has stated that this funding should not be passed on to leaseholders in the form of increased service charges or rent.

2. Waking watch relief fund

In addition to the Building Safety Fund, the government has also launched a £30 million Waking Watch Relief Fund. This fund is aimed at reducing the cost of waking watch patrols for residents living in high-rise buildings with unsafe cladding.

The government has stated that this funding should also not be passed on to leaseholders in the form of increased service charges or rent.

3. Fire safety bill

The Fire Safety Bill is a piece of legislation currently making its way through parliament. The bill aims to clarify the responsibilities of building owners and managers for the fire safety of their properties.

The bill has been updated to include measures to ensure that leaseholders are not liable for the costs of remedial work to remove dangerous cladding.

4. EWS1 form

The External Wall Fire Review process (EWS1) is a form that is required for some buildings to demonstrate that they meet fire safety standards. The government has issued updated guidance on the EWS1 process, which aims to clarify the situations in which the form is required.

The government has also stated that EWS1 forms should not be required for buildings that do not have cladding or other external wall materials of concern.

5. Affordable homes guarantee scheme

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The government has announced a new £3 billion Affordable Homes Guarantee Scheme. This scheme is designed to support the delivery of affordable housing across the country, including for those affected by cladding and other building safety issues.

The scheme will provide lenders with a government guarantee on the debt of housing associations and privately registered social housing providers.

6. Freehold owners’ assistance fund

The government has also launched a £30 million Freehold Owners Assistance Fund. This fund is aimed at helping leaseholders in buildings with unsafe cladding who are unable to access support through the Building Safety Fund because their building is not eligible.

The fund will provide grants to cover the cost of removing unsafe cladding from buildings that are not covered by the Building Safety Fund.

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7. National construction products regulator

The government has announced plans to establish a National Construction Products Regulator. The regulator will be responsible for ensuring that construction products meet high safety standards.

The regulator will have the power to remove products from the market that do not meet these standards and to prosecute companies that breach the rules.

These initiatives represent a significant investment in supporting residents affected by cladding and other building safety issues.

However, some critics argue that the plans do not go far enough. For example, some leaseholders are still facing significant costs associated with remedial work, such as the replacement of unsafe cladding.

Others argue that the government should provide more support for homeowners in buildings that do not meet the eligibility criteria for the Building Safety Fund.

Additionally, the government has also announced plans to introduce a new Building Safety Bill, which will establish a new regulatory framework for building safety. The bill will give the government new powers to regulate the construction industry and set out new standards for building security.

Overall, these initiatives represent a significant effort to address the issue of unsafe cladding and building safety and to provide support to residents who have been affected by these issues.

Conclusion

While there is still more work to be done, the initiatives outlined above demonstrate that the UK government is taking steps to address the issue of unsafe cladding and other building safety issues.

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By providing funding, clarifying regulations, and establishing new regulatory bodies, the government is working to ensure that residents can feel safe and secure in their homes.

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