Taxpayer to Foot £1.6 bn with Building Safety Fund for Dangerous Cladding

THE TAXPAYER’S bill for removing unsafe cladding has been extended to £1.6 billion with the Building Safety Fund launched by Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick on 26 May 2020.

The taxpayer is already providing £600 million for the replacement of ACM cladding systems. The £1billion Building Safety Fund brings total costs for replacing dangerous cladding to £1.6 billion.

The fund is for meeting the extra cost for replacing unsafe non-ACM cladding systems on residential buildings in the private and social sector that are 18 metres and over.

The prospectus for the fund shows the money is for buildings that currently do not comply with building regulations.

Private landlords

The fund is predominately targeted at supporting leaseholder occupiers in the private sector who have been charged significant bills by their landlords.

The Building Safety Fund will meet the capital costs of removing and replacing unsafe non-ACM cladding systems on high-rise residential buildings. The government expects landlords to cover other costs without increasing rent for their tenants.

Funding will also be provided for mixed use residential and commercial developments in both sectors.

It will not apply to buildings under 18 metres in height and other non-residential buildings, such as hotels, hospitals and buildings where there are no residential leaseholders.

Where remediation work has started on buildings with non-ACM cladding systems in scope or where work had been previously committed to, prior to the Budget announcement of the fund on 11 March 2020, these works will not eligible for the fund.

Social sector

For leaseholders living in buildings owned by providers in the social sector, the funding will meet the provider’s costs which they might have tried to charge to leaseholders.

The government says the fund’s application process has been designed to enable projects to proceed quickly.

The extra cost to the taxpayer comes as the government has updated building safety regulations – specifically an amendment to Approved Document B. The changes make sprinkler systems and consistent wayfinding signage mandatory in all new high-rise blocks over 11 metres tall.

You can see the government response to its consultation on Approved Document B.