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Sat October 31 2020

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£1bn fund set up to replace non-ACM cladding

27 May The government’s promised £1bn Building Safety Fund is now open for business, according to housing secretary Robert Jenrick.

The fund has been set up to meet the cost of replacing 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.

The prospectus for the fund was published yesterday (26th May 2020).

This fund is predominately targeted at supporting leaseholders in the private sector facing significant bills. However, the government says 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 £600m for the replacement of ACM (aluminium composite material) cladding systems, like the one which accelerated the Grenfell Tower blaze. This  brings total funding for remediation up to £1.6bn.

Ministers expect building owners who are already remediating their buildings to continue to do so. Building owners are expected “to explore every opportunity to fund this work” themselves before seeking funding from government or passing on costs to their leaseholders.

The government has also published an amendment to the statutory guidance to building safety regulations – 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.

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Housing secretary Robert Jenrick said: “Today I am launching our £1bn 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 £1.6bn.

“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.

“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 added: “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.”

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