What building cladding issues are, what we're doing to help and support available from the government.
What building safety and cladding issues are
After the fire at Grenfell, the Mayor and Avon Fire and Rescue Service Go to https://www.avonfire.gov.uk/ (opens new window) (AFRS) reassured residents that no council flats in Bristol used the same cladding system as Grenfell.
Residents in privately owned and housing association homes may live in buildings with building safety issues or unsafe cladding. As well as the fire risk to all residents, some owners and leaseholders face:
- expensive work to replace unsafe cladding
- more expensive buildings insurance premiums
- having to pay for a temporary solution of waking watches, which is paying people to patrol buildings constantly to check for fires
- difficulty selling their home because mortgage lenders have stopped lending money to buyers unless the owner can prove the building is safe, usually with an EWS1 form Go to https://www.rics.org/uk/news-insight/latest-news/fire-safety/cladding-qa/ (opens new window) (rics.org)
What we're doing
By law, we must make sure that any buildings we own or lease are safe to live in. We're reviewing and improving fire safety in our buildings.
We're asking all private and social landlords to:
- instruct a qualified consultant to assess the buildings cladding immediately
- resolve any cladding issues as quickly as possible
We're also helping landlords and leaseholders to access any government funding they may be eligible for, and administering the Waking Watch Relief Fund.
Latest government position 2022
On 10 January 2022, The Secretary of State for Housing announced new plans to protect leaseholders:
- in unsellable homes
- who are facing bills to fix building safety and cladding defects
In a statement to Parliament, The Secretary of State warned developers that they must pay to fix the cladding crisis that they caused. He has given developers a deadline of early March 2022 to agree a fully funded plan of action, which will include finding a solution for unsafe cladding on 11 to 18 metre high buildings.
This will replace the previous proposal for government loans to leaseholders of medium-rise buildings, which would need to be repaid over a long period of time.
Government plans to make industry pay for the cladding crisis on GOV.UK website
Government forces developers to fix cladding crisis on GOV.UK website
Key points from the Secretary of State's statement
- has withdrawn the guidance note that was leading to mortgage lenders needing an EWS1 assessment on certain properties before they could be sold
- will publish new technical guidance on categorising risk in existing buildings
- is going to change existing legislation, so leaseholders can challenge those who have caused defects in premises for up to 30 years
- has committed to try and prevent leaseholders from paying future costs; but it has not committed to compensating leaseholders for costs which they've had to pay already
Support from the government
Building Safety Fund (BSF)
The government has created a £5.1 million Building Safety Fund (BSF) to cover the costs of removing dangerous cladding from high-rise buildings. The fund will prioritise buildings that are at highest risk.
Leaseholders can see the status of their building's application to the BSF on GOV.UK's BSF Leaseholder and Resident Service Go to https://www.gov.uk/guidance/remediation-of-non-acm-buildings#building-safety-fund-bsf-leaseholder-and-resident-service (opens new window).
Waking Watch Replacement Fund
The government has created a £27 million Waking Watch Replacement Fund to pay for installing alarm systems in residential buildings to replace Waking Watch.
The fund is in addition to the £35 million Waking Watch Relief Fund which was for high rise (over 17.7 metres) residential buildings with unsafe cladding
To be eligible for the Waking Watch Replacement Fund, the building must:
- be in England
- be residential
- have a Waking Watch in place, which leaseholders are paying for
Applications to this fund closed at 11:59pm on 28 March 2022. Apply on Waking Watch Replacement Fund.
Who to contact if youre worried about building safety or cladding issues
Contact your MP.
If you've bought your property through Homes England's Help to Buy scheme, email:
If you bought your home through Homes England's Help to Buy and have a complaint, issue around cladding or getting an EWS1 form inspection, email email@example.com
More information and support
The Leasehold Advisory Service Go to https://www.lease-advice.org/ (opens new window) (LEASE) provides free initial advice on leasehold law.
The Leasehold Knowledge Partnership Go to https://www.leaseholdknowledge.com/ (opens new window) is a campaign group which supports leaseholders on cladding issues, as well as other leasehold issues.
The Bristol Cladding Action Group Go to https://www.facebook.com/groups/219889209582556/ (opens new window) unites leaseholders across Bristol who are affected by cladding issues. They can't offer formal advice, but they have an online support network where people can share their experiences. Also find them on Twitter Go to https://twitter.com/bristolcag?lang=en-gb (opens new window).