Cladding removal figures show slow progress
ONLY ONE social housing block had aluminium composite material (ACM) cladding fully removed during September, with work ‘yet to complete’ on 97 such high rises nationwide.
Inside Housing reported on the latest data from the Home Office, which noted in turn that of the 158 social housing high rises with ACM cladding, work to replace it has been completed on only 61 buildings (or 39%), while work is ‘yet to begin’ on 16, or 10%. That ‘slow pace’ comes despite former Housing Secretary James Brokenshire promising in July that this work would be completed in the social housing sector ‘by the end of this year’ other than in ‘a small handful of exceptional cases’.
Cladding replacement has also ‘stalled’ in the private building sector, with 144 or 79% of 181 blocks with ACM cladding ‘yet to begin’ remediation, which Inside Housing noted was a number ‘that remains unchanged since last month’. The application process for the £200m government fund for private block leaseholders opened last month, with the government stating it would make payments ‘as soon as possible’, but leaseholders have criticised the ‘high barriers’ to applying that have been set.
For private blocks, the government had set a deadline of June 2020 for completing work, and a spokesman stated: ‘Residents’ safety is our utmost priority. It is completely unacceptable that there are residents still having to live in buildings with unsafe ACM cladding. The government is committed to ensuring that residents are safe in their homes, now and in the future.
‘Progress has been far too slow and due to inaction from some building owners, we have committed £600m to speed up the pace of remediation. Building owners are responsible for making their buildings safe and inaction will not be accepted. If necessary, we will publicly name those who do not act during the course of the autumn.
‘There is no excuse for further delay – and building owners who have not yet taken the necessary steps must take immediate action and apply for the remediation fund.’