The government has established a ‘protection board’ to ensure buildings clad with Grenfell-style materials are safe while they wait for remediation work.
The board, which is chaired by the National Fire Chiefs Council, has taken responsibility for the safety of all 318 buildings around the UK that still have dangerous aluminium composite material (ACM) cladding installed.
It had previously been piloted for 10 buildings before expanding to all 318 and will expand to all ‘high-risk’ residential buildings around the UK “if necessary” by 2021.
The board – which has representatives from the Home Office; the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government; and the Local Government Association – has the power to “provide expert, tailored building checks and inspections” to the affected towers.
It will ask “assurance questions” to ensure that risks have been mitigated and that a tactical plan has been put in place for the building in case there is a fire.
The remit could be expanded to cover data-gathering and lower-rise buildings with ACM, it is understood. It is also likely to have a role in prioritising which buildings are most at risk.
While this board is a step towards that aim, the campaign also calls for resident involvement in the work and coverage of all buildings – not just those above 18m with ACM.
The campaign also calls for a building safety fund to help remediate buildings and ensure that leaseholders are not burdened with cost.
It comes as the government comes under increasing pressure over a perceived lack of action to make buildings safe in the aftermath of the Grenfell Tower fire.
In October, Barbara Lane, expert witness to the public inquiry, issued a damning assessment of the official response, which she said was based on an assumption that buildings with dangerous cladding were safe to occupy.
Residents of buildings with dangerous cladding also warned that their “lives were at risk” unless the next government took a more proactive stance over the remediation of tall buildings.
Inside Housing learned of the protection board plan via leaked minutes of a meeting between London boroughs and government officials that discussed the pilot.
The government has since confirmed that it has been expanded to cover all ACM towers above 18m tall.
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