Worried about building cladding one your home or property? Here’s all you need to know about cladding remediation.
Ever since the tragedy of Grenfell Tower in 2017 the government have been re-assessing the safety procedures surrounding the cladding that can still be found on some buildings. They have since issued guidance notes on what should and should not be done with regards affected cladding. They have also established funding options to help those who need cladding remediation.
Here is everything you need to know about that guidance, and what you can do to safeguard your property.
What is Cladding Remediation?
Let’s start with the basics. Cladding remediation involves taking ‘remedial works to remove or replace the dangerous cladding used in building works. The government is being pushed to carry out cladding remediation on all publicly owned buildings with dangerous cladding. However, if you are a private landlord whose cladding falls below standard, you are liable for cladding remediation, too.
Which Cladding is Dangerous?
The cladding UK Government are primarily concerned with is category 3 ACM cladding, although others may present a risk. ACM stands for Aluminium Composite Material, which are panels placed on the outside of the building to preserve structural integrity. They are built by securing two panels of aluminium together with a filling between them. Fillings tend to be polyutherane, profiled metal, polyethylene, or mineral based. The ACM cladding used in the Grenfell Tower incident was filled with polyethylene, which is a flammable substance.
It should be noted that if your ACM cladding is filled with non-flammable minerals, it is fire safe.
Problems arising from unsafe cladding include leaseholders being unable to get mortgages, the obvious fire risk, and homeowners being stuck with properties that cannot be sold until the problem is fixed.
Government Cladding Remediation Steps
With this dangerous cladding on so many public buildings, the government had to convene and issue strict guidance on what you should do if you are affected. By June 2021, the government were on track to completing their promise to remove cladding from identified problematic buildings. So far, they had performed cladding remediation on 90% (417) of the buildings identified.
The government have spent 4 years reviewing their policies and have:
- Set aside £5.1 billion in public funding to aid remediation
- Adjusted the Fire Safety Act so that it includes external walls.
- Introduced a new Building Safety Bill which grants a building safety regulator the power to oversee safety in high rise homes. It also includes a “gateway process” to ensure safety is considered throughout building and introduced a construction products regulator to oversee construction materials.
- Have extended some of this new regulatory framework to cover medium to low rise buildings, too. They have advised that remediation work on buildings between 11m and 18m in height should be affordable, proportionate, and appropriate.
What’s EWS1 Process?
The government introduced the EWS system so that homeowners could prove to lenders that their external walls were safe, before they bought a home in a block of flats. EWS stands for External Wall System, and these were used when buying and selling flats in buildings taller than 18m.
This was done away within 2020 when the government offered separate advice on safety measures. It was then reintroduced in March 2021 to apply to buildings which use High Pressure Laminate cladding, buildings with combustible cladding linking balconies, and building over five stories. If your property has any of these conditions, you still need an EWS1 form when buying or selling.
If You Need Cladding Remediation…
If you need cladding remediation for your building, you might be eligible for funding. You can read about the building safety fund application process online. You will also find further guidance and advice on what to do next by visiting the Housing.Org pages.