24Housing reported on the letter, written by Neil O’Connor, director of the Building Safety Fund, in which he ‘outlines measures’ in the recently announced £1bn fund, alongside ‘key announcements’ in the wake of the recent government updates on its consultations and plans for increased fire safety.

The news outlet cited the recent FPA test that showed high pressure laminate (HPL) cladding burning ‘almost as rapidly’ as the ACM on Grenfell Tower, the results of which ‘echoed calls to the Chancellor that the government needs to step up support for half a million residents now affected by all types of unsafe cladding’. The letter adds that the fund will support remediation of non ACM cladding, including ‘unsafe types’ of HPL, wood and other class C or D materials.

For the private sector, this funding would be for ‘the benefit of leaseholders’, while in the social sector it will ‘focus on those landlords who are unable to pay, ensuring the necessary works take place and that cost is not a barrier to remediation’. The letter also points out that the funding is a ‘short-term intervention’ to ‘incentivise greater pace’ in removing dangerous cladding.

On building owner responsibility, the government has said owners ‘must pursue warranty claims and appropriate action’ against those ‘responsible for putting unsafe cladding on buildings’, with any damages recovered ‘paid to the government once recouped’. As with the ACM funding, developers investors and owners who ‘have the means to pay’ are expected to ‘take responsibility and cover the costs of remediation themselves, without passing on costs to leaseholders’.

Mr O’Connor’s letter also added that the fire safety bill will also ‘make clear’ that the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 ‘applies to external walls, including cladding’, meaning that fire and rescue services can use enforcement powers to ‘address these risks’.

It states: ‘We are clear that the unprecedented total investment of £1.6bn to support remediation of ACM and non-ACM cladding systems on private and social buildings above 18 metres will be the limit to the government’s funding support for such remediation. We are working to make this new funding available as quickly as possible and aim to publish the prospectus for the new Fund in May and open for registrations soon after.

‘In the meantime, building owners should establish the exact materials used in the external wall systems of their buildings. They should fully consider and mitigate the risks of any external wall systems and take action in line with their responsibilities, including ensuring they have an up-to-date fire-risk assessment. I know that you share the government’s commitment to remove unsafe cladding from high-rise buildings and look forward to working with you over the coming weeks and months.’