What is the UK’s Cladding Safety Scheme?


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Massive cladding safety scheme opens as Grenfell Tower disaster cost escalates to nearly £1.2bn

The UK government has initiated what is being described as the most extensive cladding removal scheme to date.

According to a press release from the Housing Secretary, the Cladding Safety Scheme (CSS) is now fully operational, providing government funding for the first time to address dangerous cladding on thousands of additional buildings.

In a significant move to combat the building safety crisis in England, the government has extended the remit of the CSS.

This scheme aims to shoulder the costs linked with removing unsafe cladding from mid-rise buildings, thus shielding leaseholders from these costs where the accountable developer cannot be compelled to pay.

All buildings above 11 metres get pathway to cladding safety

The Cladding Safety Scheme opens up a pathway for fixing unsafe cladding for all buildings in England over 11 metres.

This initiative is anticipated to impact thousands more mid-rise buildings, providing tens of thousands of residents with a route to secure housing, free of cost.

The scheme will be financed both by the £5.1 billion government funding allocated to address the most hazardous buildings and the revenue collected from the Building Safety Levy on new developments.

The application portal for building owners to access this funding is accessible via Homes England’s Cladding Safety Scheme.

The true cost of cladding: Grenfell Tower disaster cost nears £1.2bn

Meanwhile, the financial aftermath of the Grenfell Tower disaster has reportedly reached almost £1.2bn, as reported by the Guardian.

This figure is approximately 4,000 times the savings made by replacing fire-retardant cladding with a cheaper, combustible alternative during the ill-fated refurbishment.

The extensive cost is primarily borne by the public purse, massively overshadowing the compensation paid by companies involved in the disaster to the bereaved and survivors.

This shocking figure of £1.17bn spent or allocated so far could have funded over 10,000 new social homes.

Commenting on this revelation, Deborah Coles, director of Inquest, a charity specialising in state-related deaths, remarked: “The human cost of preventable tragedies is always paramount, but this staggering sum shows how failing to enact change when it is called for has a significant cost to the public purse because death is expensive.”

What is the Cladding Safety Scheme?

The UK Government has recently launched the biggest cladding removal scheme to date, the Cladding Safety Scheme (CSS).

The purpose of the CSS is to provide financial assistance for the removal of dangerous cladding from buildings, ultimately protecting leaseholders from these costs.

Government Launches Biggest Cladding Removal Scheme

The Cladding Safety Scheme is the government’s most substantial building safety intervention thus far.

It represents a part of broader measures implemented to end the building safety crisis across England.

The launch of the full CSS program was announced by Housing Secretary Michael Gove.

The scheme allows costs linked to the removal of unsafe cladding in mid-rise buildings to be covered by government funding.

This protection is applied especially when the responsible developer is unable to pay.

Cladding Safety Scheme Opens to Give Thousands More Buildings Access to Government Funding

The CSS opens the way for many more buildings to qualify for assistance.

It is estimated that thousands of mid-rise buildings will qualify for the scheme, giving tens of thousands of residents a pathway to a safe home.

Most importantly, this will occur at no cost to leaseholders in these buildings.

The CSS will be funded by the £5.1 billion that the government has allocated to fix the most dangerous buildings, in addition to the revenue generated from the Building Safety Levy on new developments.

All Buildings in England Over 11 Metres Now Have a Pathway to Fix Unsafe Cladding

The scheme will be accessible to all medium-rise buildings that stand between 11 and 18 metres across England.

It will also be available to high-rise buildings over 18 metres outside of London, where fire safety professionals have recommended that remediation work must take place.

The CSS will also be available to the social housing sector. The cost of fixing dangerous cladding for all buildings in England over 11 metres will now be covered either by government funding or by the developers who built them.

Eligible Developers Given 60 Days to Respond

Eligible developers have been given 60 days to respond to an invitation to join the Responsible Actors Scheme.

By joining this scheme, they commit to making their buildings safe.

Those who do not join, or who join but fail to uphold their commitments, will be barred from carrying out major development or obtaining building control approvals.

Regulators Warn Building Owners Against Stalling on Remediation

Alongside funding, swift progress is deemed crucial in resolving the crisis.

There is no room for excuses when it comes to unsafe cladding.

Building owners are legally obligated to rectify fire safety defects promptly to ensure safety.

Regulatory bodies have warned that they will take robust enforcement action against building owners who delay remediation.

With the full backing of the government, they are committed to seeing buildings made safe faster.

Further Information

The Greater London Authority will continue to manage the remediation of London-based buildings over 18 metres through the Building Safety Fund.

Buildings already progressing through the Building Safety Fund will not be transferred into the new CSS, but their progress will remain unaffected.

Overall, the Cladding Safety Scheme represents a significant step towards resolving the building safety crisis in England.

Through government funding and developer commitments, the goal is to ensure the safety and peace of mind of residents living in buildings with potentially unsafe cladding.

IFSJ Comment

The development and implementation of the Cladding Safety Scheme mark a vital step forward in building safety in England.

This move acknowledges the urgent need for reform and the shared responsibility of both the government and developers to ensure the safety of residents.

It also serves as a stark reminder of the profound human and financial costs of failing to prioritise fire safety regulations, as illustrated by the Grenfell disaster.

It is hoped that this proactive action by the government will pave the way for safer living conditions for residents and instigate a broader change in building safety regulation and enforcement.

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