The government is still unaware of the cladding status of 100 private sector buildings, despite enforcement notices being issued to all but a handful of their owners in a bid to obtain construction information.
Questions surrounding the effectiveness of cladding on high-rise buildings began after the Grenfell fire in June last year. Since then, the government have pledged a commitment to make tower blocks safer for residents. In May, Dame Judith Hackitt’s Independent Review of Building Regulations and Fire Safety was released from Parliament with a series of commitments including a pledge to launch a consultation on banning the use of combustible materials in cladding systems on high-rise residential buildings.
Secretary of State for Housing, Rt Hon James Brokenshire MP, said: “The cladding believed to be on Grenfell Tower was unlawful under existing building regulations. It should not have been used.
I will ensure there is no room for doubt over what materials can be used safely. Having listened carefully to concerns, I will consult on banning the use of combustible materials in cladding systems on high-rise residential buildings.”
Recent figures regarding the cladding status of private sector buildings were revealed as part of new data under the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government’s (MHCLG) Building Safety Programme.
As of 12 July, the status of 100 private sector residential buildings was still to be confirmed, despite enforcement notices had now been issued for “all bar a handful” of the buildings to force owners into divulging more information. The figure means that owners of around 70 private buildings have handed over information since the government’s last update last month.
The news came as it emerged that the government is still unaware of any plans for remediation works on nearly three quarters (74%) of the 297 private high-rise residential buildings it has identified as having unsafe cladding systems.
However, local authorities have only recently started to track progress on remediation of private sector high-rise buildings and are therefore only aware of work starting on a quarter of them.
In total, 474 high-rise residential and publicly owned buildings had been identified as having aluminium composite material (ACM) cladding systems unlikely to meet Building Regulations as of 12 July.
That total is made up of 320 buildings that have failed BRE tests, of which 159 are social-sector residential buildings, 147 are private sector residential buildings (including hotels and student accommodation), and 14 are publicly owned buildings, including hospitals and schools.
Of the 159 social housing buildings that have failed large-scale system tests, 114 have started the process of remediation and of those, 13 have finished remediation.
Of the 301 private sector residential buildings with unsafe cladding, local authorities are aware of plans for remediating 77 buildings. A total of 23 buildings have started remediation, of which four have completed.