Hundreds of buildings still affected by unsafe cladding
A report released by the government detailing those buildings that have been identified as having the same cladding as that used on the Grenfell Tower has indicated that hundreds of buildings are yet to be put right and that many of these are privately owned buildings.
The figures show that of the 457 buildings identified, just 47 have finished remediation and a total of 410 high rise residential and publicly owned buildings that are unlikely to meet current Buildings Regulations guidance on exterior cladding, are yet to be made safe. This is split into 159 social sector buildings and 289 private sector buildings. Of the latter group, 102 buildings are indicated as having “unclear” plans regarding remediation work.
A report from the BBC has further indicated that the actual number of unsafe buildings could be much higher. They suggest that the government figures only include those buildings with ACM cladding (the same as used on the Grenfell Tower), but that other buildings have similar cladding that would still not meet fire safety recommendations either previous or existing. These include structural insulated panels and high-pressure laminate cladding - all of which are combustible.
The issue is now affecting leaseholding owners of apartments in affected buildings as they are being burdened with the cost of repairs. This is greatly slowing down the pace of repairs being made to privately owned buildings.
MP Hilary Benn has called on the government to change the law to protect leaseholders. He points out that it is unacceptable that people are living in unsafe buildings and being asked for money for a problem they are not responsible for. The Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government James Brokenshire, has stated that leaseholders should not have to pay for cladding removal, but he would not change the law surrounding the issue. He says the responsibility comes down to the owners and the developers of these buildings.