A new plan to reset the approach to building safety was announced by Michael Gove, Secretary of State for Levelling Up, yesterday (Monday 10/01/2022). The majority of the announcement concentrated on the proposed protections for leaseholders and who will pay remediation costs for cladding.
It was announced that leaseholders living in their own flats will not face any costs to fix dangerous cladding and instead the costs will fall upon developers and cladding companies.
Furthermore, the proposed loan scheme will be scrapped for blocks between 11 and 18m, with the building and development sector having to find a solution to fund the new scheme.
A 4-point plan has been proposed:
- Opening up the next phase of the Building Safety Fund to drive forward taking dangerous cladding off high-rise buildings, prioritising the government’s £5.1 billion funding on the highest risk
- Those at fault will be held properly to account: a new team is being established to pursue and expose companies at fault, making them fix the buildings they built and face commercial consequences if they refuse
- Restoring common sense to building assessments: indemnifying building assessors from being sued; and withdrawing the old, misinterpreted government advice that prompted too many buildings being declared as unsafe; and
- New protections for leaseholders living in their own flats: with no bills for fixing unsafe cladding and new statutory protections for leaseholders within the Building Safety Bill
The third point in the plan will see the withdrawal of the Consolidated Advice Note January 2020 and the production of updated guidance, PAS 9980, which takes a more risk-based approach to the assessment of external wall systems and should be used in conjunction with the fire risk assessment. It is hoped that this will promote more use of mitigation measures for fire safety, for example fire alarm systems and sprinklers.