Government announces extension to Building Safety Fund for cladding remediation

The deadline for applications to the Building Safety Fund has been extended by six months, in what will be welcome news to many in the leasehold sector.

The Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government (MHCLG) announced today (17 December 2020) that it has extended the deadline for the £1 billion fund until 30 June 2021, in an effort to ensure that more eligible residential buildings can remove unsafe cladding.

The Building Safety Fund is intended to meet the costs of remediating cladding systems which do not adequately resist the spread of fire.

The ‘start on site’ deadline has also been pushed back by six months, to 30 September 2021.

New £30 million ‘Waking Watch Relief Fund’

Also in today’s announcement was a new £30 million fund to encourage building owners to install fire alarms in place of the waking watch. This fund will be open from January, and MHCLG describes it as being designed to “help end the scandal of excessive waking watch costs, as part of a further move to support thousands of residents in high-rise buildings.”

Leaseholders are reported to have been paying an average of £137 per month for a waking watch service.

A reminder of the need for professional expertise

In the letter to ARMA CEO Dr Nigel Glen, and shared with ARMA members, the MHCLG also reminds applicants to the Building Safety Fund to use ‘competent professionals’ as set out in the Building Safety Fund application guidance.

By way of summary, a ‘competent professional’ is regarded as an individual who is qualified in their field; a member of a relevant professional body, and who has professional indemnity insurance. “Simply having worked in a field or having an intelligent interest in it does not, by itself, make a person a competent professional.”

Brady Solicitors is working with several managing agents to help them navigate the challenging topic of cladding. Establishing who is liable for funding cladding remedial works can be challenging and fraught with both complexity and emotion. For expert and practical advice to help you with this difficult issue, please do get in touch.

You may also find these articles helpful:

Cladding and claims against the government’s remediation fund

Balconies and fire safety – advice for managing agents

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