Progress is being made in removing dangerous cladding from high-rise residential buildings following the Grenfell Tower fire. However, the pace of works has been faster in some types of building than others and progress in the private residential sector has been slower than the government expected, according to a report by the National Audit Office.
Gareth Davies, the head of the NAO, said: “MHCLG has made progress in overseeing the removal of dangerous cladding from many buildings, particularly in the social housing sector. However, the pace of progress has lagged behind its own expectations, particularly in the private residential sector. It has a long way to go to make all high-rise buildings safe for residents.
“Going forward, it is important that the Department successfully manages the administrative challenges of funding building owners to carry out remediation work, particularly given its intention to commit a further £1 billion in full by the end of March 2021.”
By April 2020, 149 of the total 456 buildings which are 18 metres and above and have unsafe ACM cladding systems had been fully remediated, leaving 307 where remediation was not yet finished, of which work had not yet begun on 167.
The pace of remediation has been fastest in the student accommodation and social housing sectors, but slowest in the private residential sector. By April 2020, 66.7% of student accommodation blocks and 46.8% of social housing buildings had been fully remediated, compared to 13.5% of private sector residential buildings. Progress in the private sector has been slower because those legally responsible for private buildings have been difficult to identify and have required more support than expected. By the end of April 2020, the Department had paid out £1.42 million (0.7%) from the £200 million private sector fund and £133 million (33.3%) from the £400 million social sector fund.
The MHCLG estimates that all buildings within scope of its funding will be remediated by mid-2022, but MHCLG had not assessed how its timeframe for completing remediation will be affected by the pandemic.