First announced in March 2020, the Building Safety Fund (“BSF”) was introduced to assist with funding the costs associated with removing and replacing unsafe cladding on qualifying buildings of 18 meters or above.
The Department of Levelling Up, Housing and Communities together with Homes England has now announced that the Cladding Safety Scheme (“CSS”) has been opened to assist with meeting the costs of addressing life safety fire risks associated with cladding on residential buildings over 11 meters high in England (and buildings between 11 meters and 18 meters in London). This scheme was previously known as the Medium Rise Scheme.
The BSF will continue to operate for buildings over 18 meters in the Greater London Area, whilst the CSS will support other applications (as above) where the Responsible Entity is unable to fund the costs of the works themselves or where they do not consider the works to be their responsibility.
The Responsible Entity will be the entity with legal responsibility for the external repair and maintenance of the property and ultimately responsible for completing works to ensure the safety of the building. The Responsible Entity could therefore be, for example; the freeholder, head leaseholder, management company or right to manage company.
To be eligible for the CSS, the building must (in addition to the height requirements above) have cladding on the external walls, have a Fire Risk Appraisal of External Wall construction (in accordance with the PAS 9980:2022 guidance) and contain at least one lease of a residential dwelling which has been granted on market terms, at a premium and for a term of not less than 21 years. The CSS will therefore apply to residential or mixed-use buildings (which contain residential dwellings). Funding will not be available where works started on site before 10 January 2022.
For those that qualify, the CSS funding will cover the reasonable costs for works required to address the risks to life associated with external cladding, ultimately with a view to ensuring that all cladding risks are addressed as soon as possible. It is a term of the CSS (as has previously been the case for other funds) that the applicant must demonstrate that they have taken all reasonable steps to recover the costs of the works from those responsible by reviewing and pursuing any insurance claims, warranties or other legal action. The Government has brought together its various guidance notes into a collection of documents on the funds available to assist with remediation work costs on residential buildings above 11 metres in England, which can be found here.
We are tracking developments on our Building and Fire Safety Hub. If you have any queries about the Cladding Safety Scheme, please do not hesitate to contact Richard Flenley or Lauren Kelly or your usual Charles Russell Speechlys contact.
The CSS will be funded by both the £5.1 billion allocated by government to fix the most dangerous buildings and through revenue from the Building Safety Levy on new development.