Cladding and grant application updates
Government issues new guidance around fire safety in residential buildings
Following the tragic events at Grenfell Tower in 2017, the Government issued new guidance around fire safety in residential buildings. This led to SBHG carrying out a series of inspections on the buildings fitting the criteria within the government guidance and creating a programme for these blocks identified as having dangerous ACM cladding or unsafe non-ACM cladding.
We have updated residents in these blocks on the progress of the removal and replacement of cladding. We included a summary of the programme of works which will be updated as we firm up the scope of works to be carried out. We also shared information for some blocks where surveys have been carried out. We give updates on a monthly basis.
For the blocks identified with heights of 18 metres and above, we applied to the respective funding bodies for the grants applicable to the cladding situation of each of those blocks. These funding bodies are the Government's Building Safety Fund (BSF) and the GLA's Social Sector ACM Cladding Remediation Funds (SSCRF). We will update as soon as we hear on these funding bids.
Government update February 2021
In February 2021, the Government that the BSF has been topped up by an additional £3.5bn, with the Government making clear its view that no leaseholder in a building above 6 storeys or 18m (which is consistent with the current definition of Higher Risk Building in the Building Safety Bill) should have to pay for remedial work undertaken to unsafe cladding. This may require a change to the current BSF which currently applies to buildings over 17.70m in height.
Long-term low or zero interest Government loans will be made available to leaseholders in buildings below 18m and between 4 and 6 storeys in height where remedial work is required to the cladding. Repayment of the loan will not exceed £50 per month.
We have been, and will continue to be, an active partner in the national lobby to ensure that leaseholders do not have to meet the costs directly of cladding removal and replacement. We will continue to lobby, via local MPs, for this. Where possible, we continue to seek other sources to find this work, such as suing the original developer of the building or claiming against insurance policies. Read the latest Government information here.
Information for shared owners
If there is cladding on your building, your mortgage lender may require additional information. Around the country, many landlords have found that the external wall systems on certain buildings comprise materials that are not of limited combustibility and may breach current building regulations that have changed since the time of handover.
As a result, mortgage lenders will likely seek more detailed information about the construction of our buildings than previously, particularly where the building elevation exceeds 18 metres in height. We have two buildings which exceed 18 metres. These are Issigonis House and Kelway House.
The information required can vary from lender to lender. In some cases the mortgage lender may require confirmation about the material used on the external wall from a qualified building surveyor or fire engineer.
External wall system forms
If you want to sell your property, most lenders are asking for an EWS1 (External Wall System) form to be completed. EWS1 was devised as a means of providing mortgage lenders in particular with the comfort necessary to lend knowing that the external wall system has been deemed by a competent professional not to present a fire risk.
Others are asking for other information about the building itself. Where we have information that we can provide, we will give this to you as the leaseholder or your solicitors.
We do not presently have EWS1 forms for the buildings with cladding. We are talking to professionals across the sector who may be able to provide a signed EWS1 for each of our impacted buildings. Once we have an estimated cost for the work, we will consult with residents. The cost of the EWS1 will need to be met by leaseholders.
We would like to stress, a EWS1 may not help progress the sale or re-mortgage of your home given that until works are completed it would merely confirm the current cladding issues to be addressed.
The work to complete the form is complex as they may need to carry out an 'intrusive' survey eg inserting cameras or removing and replacing some components. In some cases they may need to carry out a 'destructive' survey which could involve taking out windows or brickwork.