Fire risk assessments: how often must they be done?
There are no specific time periods in law for how often fire risk assessments must be done or reviewed. The...
26th May 2020
On 11th March 2020, the Chancellor of Exchequer announced in the budget the creation of a £1 billion Building Safety Fund to cover the removal and replacement of unsafe external non-ACM cladding systems on buildings 18 metres and over in height whether they are in the private or social housing sectors. The prospectus for the fund has been published today.
Registration opens on 1st June 2020, ahead of full guidance and the application process being made available by 31st July 2020 for buildings that meet the technical criteria.
Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick MP said:
“Today I am launching our £1 billion fund to remove unsafe non-ACM cladding from buildings. This is work that must take place as an absolute priority to keep residents safe and brings total funding for remediation up to £1.6 billion.
I will not accept any excuses from building owners who have yet to take action and those responsible should register for the fund so that they can start the remediation process immediately. I have also reached an agreement with local leaders so that this important work can continue safely during the pandemic.
New statutory guidance published today also means that all new residential buildings over 11 metres tall will be fitted with sprinkler systems. This is another critical part of our commitment to delivering the biggest changes to building safety for a generation.”
The fund, available during 2020-2021, and only applies in England. The intention is to make sure tenants, leaseholders and residents living in buildings covered by the fund are safe and feel safe by remediating unsafe non-ACM cladding systems.
The fund is mainly targeted at supporting leaseholders in the private sector who face significant bills. However the government has made it clear that in respect of leaseholders living in buildings owned by providers in the social sector ,including shared ownership leaseholders, the funding is to meet the provider’s costs which would otherwise have been borne by the leaseholders.
Residents, including leaseholders, are advised not to submit a registration to the fund. If they know, or are concerned, that their building might have unsafe cladding they should contact their building owner or manager to ask them to confirm what action they are taking.
Steps to consider include:
- If the building owner is not taking sufficient action, or is intending to charge leaseholders for the remediation of a cladding system, they can notify the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government using the form provided at https://www.gov.uk/guidance/remediation-of-non-acm-buildings providing basic details of the building, the owner or managing agent, and the type of cladding they believe is present if known to them. This will be available from the 1st
- Contacting the building owner or managing agent to ask for confirmation that the cladding system on the building is safe. Leaseholders can ask to see a copy of the most recent Fire Risk Assessment for the building.
- If the cladding on the building is not safe, seek confirmation as to the actions the building owner is taking and how they intend to finance the work. If the building owner cannot meet the costs themselves or intends to charge you for the remediation, leaseholders should refer them to the fund.
- If a leaseholder is concerned about a fire safety risk which the building owner or managing agent is not addressing, they should contact the local Fire and Rescue Service or Local Authority for advice.
The Government has today also published its response to the Consultation on sprinklers and other fire safety measures in new high-rise blocks of flats. It is publishing an update to the guidance to the building regulations (Approved Document B, or ADB). This update to ADB will ensure sprinkler systems and consistent wayfinding signage are mandatory in all new blocks of flats over 11 metres tall when they come into force on 26th November 2020.
Full transitional arrangements are detailed in a circular letter; and the Government is also publishing the full impact assessment for these amendments to the guidance.