27 January 2020

Act now to avoid being 'named and shamed' – Fire Safety Update

We wrote last month about the impending deadline for applications to be made to the Government's fund for the removal and replacement of dangerous aluminium composite material (ACM) cladding.

Whilst it is understood that many applications were received before the 31 December 2019 cut off, latest statistics indicate that remedial works to 135 affected privately owned buildings are yet to begin.

The Housing Secretary, Robert Jenrick, has this week announced a raft of fire safety related measures, including a threat to start 'naming and shaming' the owners of buildings where remediation work has not started from next month.

In addition, a public consultation has been opened inviting responses to the intention to amend the extent of the existing ban on combustible materials being used in and on the external walls of certain buildings. The Government wishes to lower the height threshold of the ban to buildings over 11 metres tall, rather than the current 18 metre requirement and to include hotels, hostels and boarding houses for the first time.

A new national Building Safety Regulator, run by the Health and Safety Executive, will also start operating imminently and will have the power to apply criminal sanctions to building owners who disregard building safety legislation. Dame Judith Hackitt, who led the independent review of building regulations and fire safety following the Grenfell Tower fire, is currently advising the Government as to how best to establish this new organisation.

Sarah Heatley is an associate in our Property Litigation team.

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