Following the immense tragedy of the Grenfell Tower fire 176 privately owned high-rise residential buildings were identified as having an unsafe Aluminium Composite Material (ACM) cladding facade. Whilst the Government has already successfully fully funded works to remove and replace this dangerous cladding in respect of social housing high-rise developments (there are just 23 projects yet to start) many private developers and landlords are accused of being slow to act and in trying to pass on the costs (often significant) of such works to leaseholders. It is estimated that works to remove affected cladding are yet to start on 156 of these privately-owned high-rise buildings.

For this reason, on 9th May 2019 the Government has announced that around £200m will to be made available in funding for the removal and replacement of the ACM cladding from these buildings.

The Government has made this move in order to ensure that this critical cladding replacement happens without any further delay or excuses and, by fully funding replacement works, to ensure leaseholders are protected from the costs that some private owners were trying to offload.

The announcement in summary:

  • Whilst it should be pointed out that some private building owners have been swift to act, Communities Secretary the Rt Hon James Brokenshire MP calls time on the “reckless” building owners who have refused to take action.
  • The Government will fully fund the replacement of unsafe (aluminium composite material) ACM cladding on high-rise residential properties which are under private ownership and where the building owners have thus far failed to act.
  • Target is that of safety – to ensure vital removal and replacement works are carried out without any further delay.
  • High-Rise defined as buildings in excess of 18m in height.
  • New funding availability estimated at £200m.
  • Building owners have 3 months to access the funding.
  • Government to consider action on any private owner who fails to remediate.

Prime Minister, Theresa May said:

It is of paramount importance that everybody is able to feel and be safe in their homes.

That’s why we asked building owners in the private sector to take action and make sure appropriate safety measures were in place.

And we’ve seen a number of private building owners doing the right thing and taking responsibility, but unfortunately too many are continuing to pass on the costs of removal and replacement to leaseholders.

Today I can confirm we will now be fully funding the replacement of cladding on high-rise private residential buildings so residents can feel confident they are secure in their homes.

Link to official announcement: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/government-to-fund-and-speed-up-vital-cladding-replacement

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