'No excuse for further delay,' says housing minister

12 September 2019

Building owners who do not use a £200million fund to remove dangerous cladding from their buildings will be 'named and shamed,' says the government.

Robert Jenrick, secretary of state for Housing, Communities and Local Government has promised that building owners who do not use the money to remove unsafe aluminium composite material (ACM) from residential tower blocks will be punished and face 'consequences'. 

"There is no excuse for further delay," Mr Jenrick said. "For building owners to fail to take action now would be frankly disgraceful."

In the summer of 2017, Grenfell Tower caught fire and 72 people died after being trapped in the block as flames spread up and along the building's cladding, triggering a countrywide government safety review.

The government promised £400m to replace similar ACM cladding on council-owned buildings and asked private building owners not to pass on the costs to their tenants. However, following several cases where individuals were asked to pay tens of thousands of pounds towards replacing the cladding on their homes, the government has set up another fund for privately owned buildings clad in ACM. Applications for the £200m fund open today (12 September). 

The UK government has also released £4m of funding for the collection of data on building cladding types. It has been estimated that over 170 private housing blocks have ACM cladding that needs removing.

Ten million pounds has been earmarked for a Protection Board, which will be a joint project between the Home Office and National Fire Chiefs Council.

The Protection Board will oversee interim safety measures in buildings clad with ACM, updating residents' and ensuring the owners of these buildings ‘are acting on the latest safety advice’.

"Our proposals are an important step forward in shaping the future building safety standards," said Mr Jenrick.

"The new Protection Board will make sure building owners don't flout the rules, as well as ensuring fire safety risks in other buildings are being addressed," he added. 

These rules would only pertain to housing blocks built since 2007, and do not apply to retrofitting structures built before. 

Original sources
Chartered Institute of Architectural Technologist