Posted on: July 28, 2022 Posted by: AKDSEO Comments: 0

Summary

1. This guidance provides an overview of cladding remediation and how this definition will impact you in practice.

2. It has become clear that many residential blocks of flats have serious historical fire safety defects associated with their original construction or a subsequent refurbishment. Most notably, this has included the use of unsafe cladding on the external walls of these buildings.

3. The Building Safety Act 2022 changes the regulatory regime so we can have confidence in the future about new buildings.

4. Due to the risks posed by these existing fire safety defects, remediation work can be necessary. In the most concerning cases, the entire cladding system for a building may need to be replaced, or proper fire compartmentation installed between flats.

5. In buildings which do not qualify as a relevant building, more proportionate remedies may be more appropriate, for example, sprinkler systems or fire alarms. Building owners should follow the recommendations of a fire safety professional following an appropriate assessment (the definition of ‘building owner’ can be found in What are my building owner’s legal obligations?).

6. If you are a qualifying leaseholder, you will be completely protected from all costs related to the remediation of unsafe cladding systems. If you are a non-qualifying leaseholder, you will be fully protected where your building owner is – or is related to – the developer that was responsible for the defects.

What is a cladding system?

7. For the purpose of the leaseholder protections in the Act, cladding remediation is defined as the removal of or replacement of any part of a cladding system that meets both of the following conditions:

a. it forms the outer wall of an external wall system

b. it is unsafe.

How will this affect you, the leaseholder?

8. If you are a qualifying leaseholder, you will be protected from all costs related to the remediation of unsafe cladding systems. This means that, if you are a qualifying leaseholder, you will not have to pay for the remediation of unsafe cladding systems and will no longer be the first port of call to fix historical building safety defects.

9. If your landlord is – or is associated with – the developer associated with the defect, then it will be illegal for them to pass on the cost of historical building safety remediation in relevant buildings, including the removal of cladding, whether you are a qualifying or non-qualifying leaseholder.

10. If you are a leaseholder in either of these circumstances and have received a bill or a demand for payment towards the remediation of unsafe cladding systems before 28 June 2022 which you have not paid, then you do not have to pay it.

11. Any money you have already paid towards cladding system remediation since 28 June 2017 will not be reimbursed, but will count towards the cap on costs for non-cladding defects.

12. The government has also agreed with over 45 residential property developers that they will fix all life-critical fire safety defects (including cladding) in all buildings above 11 metres that they or their subsidiaries had a role in developing or refurbishing in the past 30 years, where those relevant defects arise from the design, construction or refurbishment. This will benefit you even if you are not a qualifying leaseholder. This will also benefit building owners who are not – and are not associated with – the developer.

13. Residential leaseholders may also benefit from grant funding for the removal of unsafe cladding systems in buildings above 18 metres, as well as the Building Safety Fund and the new remediation scheme for buildings between 11 to 18 metres. This will benefit non-qualifying leaseholders and building owners where they are not – and are not associated with – the developer.

Examples

Example 1:

  • You are a qualifying leaseholder residing in a relevant building.
  • There are cladding systems that cover part of the external wall of your building which poses a fire safety risk and require remediation.
  • As the Act fully protects qualifying leaseholders from remediation costs, you are not charged with any costs associated with the remediation of your building. Instead, the landlord is fully responsible for paying or securing funding to remove the cladding from your building.

Example 2:

  • You are a non-qualifying leaseholder residing in a relevant building.
  • There are cladding systems that cover part of the external wall of your building which poses a fire safety risk and require remediation.
  • As your building owner is associated with the developer, the Act provides that they are fully responsible for paying to remove the cladding from your building and you are not charged with any costs associated with its remediation.

Example 3:

  • You are a non-qualifying leaseholder residing in a relevant building.
  • There are cladding systems that cover part of the external wall of your building which poses a fire safety risk and require remediation.
  • Your building owner is not – and is not associated with – the developer. You are therefore not protected from the costs of remediation through the Act and you may have to contribute to cladding system remediation costs.
  • However, you may be protected from the costs of cladding system remediation where the developer has signed the pledge to remediate buildings. See a list of the developers that have signed the building safety repairs pledge.

Example 4:

  • You are a leaseholder residing in a building below 11 metres or five storeys tall, so your building is not considered a relevant building for the purpose of the Act.
  • You would be liable for the costs as determined by the terms in your lease.
  • There are cladding systems that cover part of the external wall of your building which poses a fire safety risk and requires remediation.
  • However, more appropriate mitigations may be more suitable for your building, such as sprinklers and fire alarms.