Good Move BUT not enough..
Chancellor Rishi Sunak has listened and acted. A bit. Mounting pressure from a broad coalition of stakeholders including managing agents, IRPM, ARMA, British Property Federation, FoPRA, LKP, freeholders and more has helped persuade Chancellor Sunak to release up to £1bn of his budget funding to help remove unsafe cladding beyond just ACM. The power of different voices saying the same thing has helped carry the message to government.
IRPM welcomes every penny but warns it is not enough. The National Housing Federation has estimated the social sector alone will spend £10bn fixing their buildings. Estimates for remediating the private sector vary wildly but similar sums are expected. Until the implications of the new Consolidated Advice Note, bringing buildings below 18m into scope, is understood, the true final cost of making buildings safe will not be known. But we can be very clear that it will be massive and £1bn extra for both sectors simply won’t cut it.
When SecState Brokenshire announced his £200m for removal of ACM cladding, we warned that the devil would be in the detail and so it proved. Only now, long after the official deadline for applications has passed, are meaningful sums being paid out, while managing agents wrestle with a process that is complex and frustrating. IRPM issue the same advice now, that the devil will be in the detail. We wait to see how this funding will be made available and to whom.
Meanwhile, we can take encouragement that the principle has been established. Government has a role to play in making buildings safe. We can now move the debate onto the matter of scale, while getting on with making our buildings safe. It’s a good start.