Government threatens ‘consequences’ for cladding building owners

Government threatens ‘consequences’ for cladding building owners

HOUSING SECRETARY Robert Jenrick said that the government would ‘name and shame’ owners that do not replace combustible cladding, and that these owners would face ‘consequences’.

Dezeen reported on Mr Jenrick’s comments after he announced last week proposals that ‘would ensure more sprinklers in new high-rise blocks of flats’, adding in turn that the proposals would see sprinklers ‘installed in new high-rise blocks of flats’, and form an ‘important step forward in the government’s commitment to ensuring residents are safe in their homes’.

The main element of the consultation – running until 28 November - is to reduce the building height ‘for when sprinklers are required’ from 30m and above to 18m ‘or other relevant thresholds’, while a new protection board is being set up ‘immediately’ between the Home Office and National Fire Chiefs Council to ‘provide further reassurance to residents of high-risk residential blocks that any risks are identified and acted upon’.

About £10m of funding a year has been made available to support this board, which will provide ‘expert, tailored’ building checks and inspections ‘if necessary’ on all high risk residential buildings in England by 2021. It will operate until a new building safety regulator is established, and until legislation on a new building safety regime is introduced.

The board will ‘ensure building owners are acting on the latest safety advice’, keep residents updated and that interim measures ‘are in place’ for all buildings clad with combustible aluminium composite material (ACM) cladding. Its work will be informed by data collection work by local authorities to identify cladding types, and funded by another government contribution of £4m.

In turn, from 12 September the application process for the £200m fund for removing ACM from privately owned buildings will be opened ‘to accelerate the pace’ of removal and replacement. The consultation on the sprinklers and other measures will last 12 weeks. This forms ‘part of the first proposed changes to building regulations in England covering fire safety within and around buildings’, including emergency evacuation alert systems for use by fire and rescue services.

The government also published responses from its call for evidence on the technical review of Approved Document B of the Building Regulations (ADB). Mr Jenrick has since elaborated on the consultation and the £200m funding for removing ACM, stating that the government threatens to ‘name and shame’ owners that do not replace cladding, and that owners ‘will face "consequences’.

He stated: ‘Let me be clear, inaction will have consequences and I will name and shame those who do not act during the course of the autumn. There is no excuse for further delay – and for building owners to fail to take action now would be frankly disgraceful. Our proposals are an important step forward in shaping the future building safety standards. The new Protection Board will make sure building owners don’t flout the rules, as well as ensuring fire safety risks in other buildings are being addressed.’