A summary of MHCLG announcements regarding Building Safety
Secretary of State, Robert Jenrick, has made a series of updates announcing the Building Safety Programme, including the Government's response to the Building a Safer Future consultation.
The MHCLG has stressed that the challenges presented by the spread of Covid-19 are severe. The Government's view is that the work to remove unsafe cladding from buildings is critical to public safety and so must remain a top priority. Therefore, MHCLG is pleased to confirm that:
- New, enhanced project management support to this programme will allow MHCLG to identify and seek solutions to Covid-19 impacts, including on labour and supply, through engagement with individual remediation projects;
- MHCLG has appointed the Government's construction expert, Dr David Hancock, to review ACM remediation. Graham Watts, CIC Chief Executive has met with David to offer CIC support to his crucial work; and Faithful & Gould has been appointed to provide additional programme management capability. This additional construction expertise support will identify blockers and work with those responsible for remediation to support individual projects;
- Last month, the Government announced a £1 billion fund through 2020/21 to support the remediation of unsafe non-AMC cladding materials on high-rise buildings. MHCLG is working to make this funding available as quickly as possible and aims to publish the prospectus in May, opening for registrations soon after.
The announcements by the Secretary of State cover four areas:
- The Government's response to Building a Safer Future consultation and the details of the new, national Building Safety Regulator. The Government will legislate for these reforms through the Building Safety Bill, which will aim to put residents' safety at its heart and delivers the biggest change in building safety for a generation.
- Updates to Approved Document B and the increased fire safety measures for high-rise flats. This has been updated to further tighten fire safety measures, following a consultation. Sprinkler systems and clear wayfinding signage will be compulsory in all new high-rise flats over 11 metres.
- MHCLG has published the latest results of tests into non-AMC cladding. The tests improved understanding of how these materials react when burnt. Different types of high-pressure laminate (HPL) and timber cladding were tested; the results confirmed the non-ACM materials all showed greater resistance to heat than ACM counterparts.
- MHCLG has been working closely with industry to clarify the valuation process through the RICS External Wall System (EWS) form. This work means developing an online portal for completed ESW1 forms covering cladding-related valuation assessments. Both lenders and leaseholders will be able to access the information needed to support more accurate mortgage valuations. In addition, the Secretary of State intends to host a lender roundtable to further explain the focus on high-rise residential buildings over 18 metres and ensure lenders can agree a rational approach to lending under 18 metres.
The MHCLG has also published a short summary of the above package.