Applying for the Building Safety Fund

16 October 2020

In August, we published an article clarifying the applications process for the Building Safety Fund. There is a separate process for social housing providers who wish to claim funding for eligible remedial works costs that would otherwise be charged to leaseholders – this does not require building owners to demonstrate that paying for work would threaten their financial viability to be eligible.

We know that some of our members will want to claim for funding through this channel ahead of the 31 December deadline, and this update provides further clarification on how the process works.

Applying for social sector grants

The government has published guidance for social sector landlords that want to pursue the claims process. Social landlords did also have the opportunity to apply for funding to cover cladding remediation costs for each eligible building, should doing so have affected their financial viability – however, this application process has now closed. Guidance for both of these processes is available on the Building Safety Fund homepage.

The social sector grants process allows building owners to claim for funding equivalent to the value of work that would otherwise be charged to leaseholders. It is part of the same £1bn overall pot available for funding through both channels, and is being allocated on a first-come, first-served basis. It will only cover eligible works on eligible buildings, however, with details available in the guidance.

Details of the claims process are as follows:

  • Claims must be submitted by the ‘responsible entity’ – that is, the organisation that has the legal obligation or right to carry out remediation works and to legally recover the costs from leaseholders as a service charge.
  • Claims will need to be made on a building-by-building basis. This is intended to speed up the processing of claims, so that details of multiple buildings do not need to be verified before funding can be allocated.
  • Building owners will not be required to undertake a section 20 consultation process with leaseholders, or to demonstrate their intent to exercise their contractual rights as part of a condition of funding.
  • Funding is available to cover the remediation of unsafe non-ACM cladding systems on high-rise residential buildings of 18m or higher (with a 30cm tolerance).
  • To be eligible for funding, work must start on site by 31 March 2021.
  • Building owners will be required to provide evidence on request to support their claims, as the department will carry out sample checks on a percentage of buildings for which claims are submitted.
  • Claimants will be required to demonstrate that they have taken all reasonable steps to recover the costs of replacing unsafe non-ACM cladding from those responsible through insurance claims, warranties, legal action and any other relevant routes. However, we understand that these do not need to have concluded as a condition of the claim.
  • Where claimants do successfully recover costs, they will need to pay these to the government up to the amount claimed through the fund.

While we acknowledge the government’s efforts to speed up the remediation of non-ACM cladding systems through the Building Safety Fund, we remain concerned about the lack of overall funding and the limitations this presents for our members. We are continuing to work with the government to explore solutions to speed up, coordinate and fund remediation across the sector and, importantly, call for this to be directed first to buildings that present greater risks. This work remains an absolute priority for our members.

If you have any questions about the Building Safety Fund, please get in touch.

Who to speak to

Victoria Moffett, Head of Building and Fire Safety Programmes