Last week the government re-opened the Waking Watch Relief Fund to applications for unallocated funding from its initial £30 million fund created earlier this year. The window for this second wave of applications runs for a 4 week period from 26 May 2021 to 24 June 2021.

The Fund had opened for all eligible private sector buildings in England outside London, and to all eligible social sector buildings regardless of location, on 31 January 2021. In Greater London the Fund opened to eligible private sector buildings on 18 March 2021. Applications for this original tranche of funding had all closed and therefore the government’s decision to re-open access to the Fund will represent a welcome opportunity to those who missed out initially.

The second tranche of funding will be administered by MHCLG and associated guidance on how to make an application can be found here.

The purpose of the Fund is to meet the upfront capital costs of installing an alarm system in buildings with unsafe cladding, which otherwise required a waking watch to be on site until such time as the cladding could be removed. The fund will also cover the cost of alarms installed after 17 December 2020.

To be eligible a building must:

  • be in the private sector
  • be over 17.70 metres in height
  • have an unsafe cladding system
  • have a waking watch in place where these costs have been passed on to leaseholders

Social sector buildings will also be eligible where the Registered Provider can evidence that waking watch costs have been passed to leaseholders and the costs of installing an alarm will fall on leaseholders.

Responsibility for applying to the fund will rest with the Responsible Person, who under the The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 (which will be amended by The Fire Safety Act 2021, once that comes into force) is the entity responsible for ensuring the safety of residents in their building from fire and assessing the risk and identifying suitable mitigating measures where they are needed.

Those eligible to apply will want to act quickly to ensure that their applications are made before the window closes on 24 June 2021.