Extended deadline and further £30m waking watch fund announced to tackle unsafe cladding

17th December 2020

The Government announced this morning that a new £30m waking watch mitigation fund, will be made available to help tackle mounting costs for leaseholders.

The Government has also extended the date to submit the fully designed and tendered stage of fund applications from 31 December 2020, to the end June and build/go to site to the end of September 2021.

This will be welcome news to many leaseholder owners and occupants of high-rise buildings. They have faced the prospect of either paying waking watch and fire alarm costs themselves or having to bring legal claims against original developers or contractors to recover these costs (which are often excluded by new build warranty providers/insurers, such as the NHBC).

Whilst the extension will only apply to those who have already registered with the fund during the summer, it will relieve the pressure to complete applications by the end of 2020.

James Bessey, Blake Morgan’s cladding safety expert, said:

This is welcome news for the sector. There have been considerable issues with capacity in the marketplace which made it increasingly unlikely that leaseholders could meet the required deadline. There have also been issues finalising designs where there is a lack of build information, as-builts/or constructions drawings or inadequate O&M Manuals.

James Bessey added: “The two announcements are probably linked – an extension to the fund deadline would mean an admission that the industry and/or the fund simply cannot respond quickly enough. The consequence of this is ongoing and increasing waking watch costs and mounting pressure to install temporary measures such as fire alarms, additional detectors or extensions to systems. Whether those measures are sufficient to cease a waking watch will need to be considered on a building by building basis, and is it not yet clear whether the government will fund the cost of that advice.

There has, however, been no indication that the funding available will be increased above £1bn or that it will no longer be on a first come first serve basis. Those who have managed to prepare their applications would be prudent to submit them and obtain funding/start remediation as soon as possible.”

For further information about today’s announcement, see the Government’s announcement.

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