UK launches £18.6m Waking Watch Replacement Fund

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The UK government has announced a new £18.6 million Waking Watch Replacement Fund for the current year. The fund aims to cover the costs of installing common alarm systems in residential buildings throughout England, wherever a Waking Watch is currently in operation.

This funding builds upon the efforts of the £35 million Waking Watch Relief Fund (WWRF), launched with a focus on high-rise residential buildings above 17.7 metres with a Waking Watch, and the £27 million Waking Watch Replacement Fund from 2022, which broadened its scope to include residential buildings of any height.

The newly announced £18.6 million funding seeks to further expand financial support and adheres to the guidance given by the National Fire Chief’s Council (NFCC). It is particularly intended for buildings that shift from a ‘Stay Put’ to a ‘Simultaneous Evacuation’ fire safety strategy.

Applications to the fund opened on the day of the announcement, with full application guidance and an application form available to prospective applicants. The DLUHC personal information charter and privacy notice lay out the use of personal information during the application process.

Leaseholders, who may have encountered high costs or delays in implementing interim safety measures, will directly benefit from this fund. It aims to provide financial support and facilitate a more efficient, long-term fire safety system in their buildings.

Funding eligibility

To qualify for funding, a building must be in England, serve as a residential building, and have a Waking Watch in place. The fund will cover the upfront costs of installing an alarm system in accordance with the recommendations of BS 5839-1 for a Category L5 system, as referred to in the NFCC’s revised guidance on simultaneous evacuation.

Retroactive costs will also be considered, with the fund covering the cost of alarms where installation work began on or after 25 May 2023.

The fund will be administered centrally by the DLUHC for all qualifying buildings. Previous applicants to the 2021 Waking Watch Relief Fund and the 2022 Waking Watch Replacement Fund can find additional information and guidance on the associated prospectus and application guidance documents.

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