Government announce increase to the Building Safety Fund

18th February 2021

On 10th February 2021, the Government announced that it would increase the Building Safety Fund to £5bn to help cover costs of dangerous cladding removal in high-rise buildings. 

Here are the key take outs of this announcement: 

  • The £5bn Building Safety Fund will pay for the removal of unsafe cladding for leaseholders in all residential buildings 18 metres and over (6 storeys) in England & Wales.  It is yet unclear whether this covers other remedial costs, such as incorrect installation of cavity barriers or removing dangerous balconies.
  • The deadline for applications to Building Safety Fund is 30th June 2021.
  • For residential buildings 11-18 metres in height, leaseholders will still be responsible for paying for the removal of unsafe cladding, but the monthly payments will be capped at £50.  A government-backed loan will be available for this.
  • It is yet unclear what might happen with buildings under 11 metres.
  • A new tax for the UK residential property sector will come into effect in 2022.  This will ensure that the construction industry contributes towards remediation costs and is set to raise £2bn.
  • There is some suggestion that requirements for EWS-1 forms may change, as they currently hold up house sales in high-rise apartments.  This should provide more confidence to the housing market. We expect more information to follow on this.
  • The Government will bring forward legislation this year to tighten the regulation of building safety and review the construction products regime to prevent malpractice arising again. Timings are yet to be confirmed.
  • The announcement seems to instil a more risk-based approach to the replacement of combustible EWS installations.  It also highlights the need for building owners to understand the fire safety risk profile of their buildings and hold information about the height and EWS composition of their properties.

The team of safety experts at S2 Partnership will continue to keep up to date with legislation changes and offer advice to the commercial property sector on how to minimise risk.  Contact us for more information.