Earlier this week, the government stated that it believes ‘making buildings safe and maintaining measures to ensure buildings are safe ahead of remediation […] remains a priority’, and that ‘this work is critical to public safety’, with additional project management support put in place to help oversee remediation during the COVID-19 pandemic.

This has reportedly been done by appointing project managers with construction expertise, and this ‘additional support will identify blockers to progress’ as well as ‘work directly with those responsible for remediation to support individual projects’. This new team will work with those responsible for remediation and the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) to ‘understand the impact’ of the pandemic on cladding remediation projects.

It will also ‘identify ways to reduce the impact on pace’, and with construction sites having ‘not been asked to close’, the government believes ‘work can continue if it is done safely’, with employers ensuring workers on site are ‘able to follow the public health guidance’ and consider ‘responsible arrangements’ for worker travel ‘in line with this’, such as ‘staggering site hours to reduce public transport use during peak periods’.

The government has also confirmed that ‘it is possible for construction work to continue in the current context, with those commissioning and undertaking building safety work such as cladding remediation asked to ‘consider how best to proceed and/or mitigate the risks arising from such work being paused’.

Building has now reported that the government has ‘strengthened’ the team leading cladding replacement to ‘counter problems caused by the coronavirus pandemic’, with the Cabinet Office and MHCLG having appointed Dr Hancock – the government’s construction expert – to ‘review ACM remediation’, while Faithful & Gould were appointed to ‘provide additional programme management’.

This new team would help to ‘deal with issues caused by the pandemic such as getting enough labour and materials to specific jobs’, while Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick also wrote to all MPs in England to state that the department would ‘do all it can’ to ensure cladding remediation ‘continues where it is safe to do so’.

His letter stated: ‘The challenges presented by the spread of covid-19 are severe. The government’s view is that the work to remove unsafe cladding from buildings is critical to public safety and so must remain a top priority. This additional construction expertise support will identify blockers and work with those responsible for remediation to support individual projects.’