R&R respond to HCLG report following request for evidence
Rendall and Rittner have long had concerns over the impact which Government Policy relating to Façade Safety is having on the safety as well as the financial and emotional wellbeing of our customers. This resulted in us initiating discussions with other leading managing agents, ultimately resulting in the issuing of an open letter to the Chancellor of the Exchequer signed by key stakeholders from across our industry. We were therefore pleased to hear of the £1 Billion Building Safety Fund set aside for remediation of defective External Wall Systems other than ACM cladding announced in this year’s budget.
There was a call for evidence from The Housing Communities and Local Government Committee (HCLG) in which we raised our many concerns over cladding safety. On the 12th June, the HCLG provided their report and we are pleased that it expressed significant concerns which were very closely aligned to those raised by us in our written evidence to the committee. Specifically:
- Whether the fund is sufficient for the number of buildings requiring remediation.
- Costly risk mitigation is excluded, and leaseholders are unfairly having to bear the cost of this.
- Shortage of necessary experts to address the problems, is resulting in significant delays in checking of façades.
We urge the Government to consider including low-rise buildings with dangerous ACM and HPL cladding which currently fall outside of the scope of the fund. We fear that the costs of making their homes safe will be born almost entirely by leaseholders who have played no part in contributing to what is a systemic failure to manage and control building standards appropriately over very many years.
As things stand, it appears that the fund will not cover significant elements of these costs, such as expensive safety checks, risk mitigation (waking watches and upgraded alarm systems) and remediation of external wall systems on low-rise buildings.
Another key concern is the fact that the necessary expertise to assess safety, mitigate risks and remediate unsafe buildings is in such short supply. Added to this, there is no central visibility or oversight to ensure that those buildings most at risk across the UK are prioritised and made safe. As a result (and unless things change), remediation of unsafe buildings will take very many years. We hope the government choose to centralise the coordination and allocation of resources thereby ensuring that the most vulnerable residents are afforded the necessary protection.
Posted: 15 July 2020 by Duncan Rendall