Social Housing Speed Read – Hackitt Review published and Government announces fund for unsafe cladding removal
21st May, 2018
In this week's Speed Read, we discuss the long-anticipated Hackitt Review and the new fund launched by the Government for the removal and replacement of unsafe cladding by councils and housing associations.
On 17 May 2018, Dame Judith Hackitt’s Independent Review of Building Regulations and Fire Safety was published following her appointment by the Government to lead a review of building regulations in July 2017 against the backdrop of the Grenfell Tower tragedy.
The report can be found here.
In her report, Dame Judith Hackitt makes a number of recommendations with regard to:
- a less authoritative approach to the regulatory framework, and the appointment of a new regulator to oversee and promote the correct behaviour;
- better defined roles and responsibilities throughout the design and construction process, persisting after the building has been occupied, to ensure real accountability for building safety;
- residents are to be consulted and involved in decisions affecting the safety of their dwellings and, where concerns are raised, their opinions are to be considered;
- a more transparent and robust product testing regime;
- a strengthening of competence of all those involved in building work, with a regulatory body to be appointed to oversee the same.
Dame Judith noted that:
“The current system is far too complex, it lacks clarity as to who is responsible for what, and there is inadequate regulatory oversight and enforcement. Simply adding more prescription or making amendments to the current system, such as restricting or prohibiting certain practices, will not address the root causes.
“The recommendations in this report will lead to a clearer, simpler but more robust approach to the building and on going management of high rise residential buildings.”
Government fund for unsafe cladding removal in social housing
In further news, and on the day before the Hackitt review was published, the Government announced that it will fully fund the removal and replacement of unsafe cladding by councils and housing associations, at a total estimated cost of £400 million.
The Government announced that: “although social landlords have made good progress on replacing unsafe cladding, it is right to provide further support. It is therefore today announcing additional funding for the social sector. It recognises the tough decisions that are being made to carry out fire safety work as well as the potential impact on other services”.
Local authorities and housing associations, which are non-profit making, will be given access to the money to help with reasonable costs of removing and replacing unsafe cladding from buildings which they own to ensure people are safe in their homes. As for building owners in the private sector, the Government states that “it is clear that building owners in the private sector must ensure private sector homes are made safe.”
If you have any questions on the above and how it will affect social housing providers, or any other questions as a social housing provider, please do not hesitate to contact John Murray or a member of our expert Social Housing Team.
Please note that this briefing is designed to be informative, not advisory and represents our understanding of English law and practice as at the date indicated. We would always recommend that you should seek specific guidance on any particular legal issue.
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