The programme was established to make sure that residents of high-rise buildings are safe – and feel safe – now, and in the future.
COVID-19: pledge to ensure necessary building safety improvements can continue
The Housing Secretary, Mayors and local leaders have made a pledge to support vital building safety improvements continuing during the pandemic. The pledge sets out how work should continue and makes clear that this should only happen if the necessary safety precautions are being followed, including 2 metre social distancing rules.
Remediation and COVID-19: Building Safety update
This page gives links to useful sources of information which the construction industry and others with an interest in building safety may find helpful within the current context.
Government update on building safety - 2 April 2020
A summary of the announcements, including the government’s response to the ‘Building a Safer Future’ consultation and wider measures to improve building safety now and in the future.
The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) has established the Building Safety Programme to make sure that buildings are safe - and people feel safe - now, and in the future.
The government has banned combustible materials in the external walls of high rise residential buildings of 18 metres and over, and following a review into its effectiveness, is now consulting on extending the ban significantly further, including lowering the 18 metres height threshold to 11 metres.
With the support of local fire and rescue services and a panel of independent expert advisers, MHCLG is supporting building owners in taking immediate steps to ensure their residents’ safety and in making decisions on any remedial work that is necessary to do.
The programme is working with building owners, housing providers, schools, hospitals and the construction industry, including an Industry Response Group.
Waking Watch Relief Fund
On 17 December 2020 the Secretary of State announced a new £30 million Waking Watch Relief Fund to pay for the the installation of alarms to remove or reduce the reliance on Waking Watch in buildings over 18 metres with unsafe cladding systems.
Building regulations and fire safety procedural guidance
Procedural guidance on the way in which building control bodies consult with fire and rescue services on plans for building work has now been published by Local Authority Building Control (LABC) with the National Fire Chiefs Council (NFCC) and the Association of Consultant Approved Inspectors (ACAI) and in conjunction with the Joint Regulators’ Group of the Fire Safety Programme.
The guidance also covers arrangements for the handover of fire safety information.
The Department recommends that building control bodies should follow this guidance as good practice:
Building safety advice for building owners, including fire doors
- Building safety advice for building owners, including fire doors - 20 January 2020
Aluminium composite material cladding
Private sector ACM cladding remediation fund
On 9 May 2019 the Secretary of State announced that the government will fully fund the removal and replacement of unsafe ACM cladding on private sector residential buildings 18 metres or over, with costs estimated at £200 million.
Grant funds for remediation of non-ACM buildings
On 11 March 2020, the Chancellor announced that the government will provide an additional £1 billion to fund the removal and replacement of unsafe non-ACM cladding systems installed on high-rise residential buildings in both the private and social housing sectors.
Non-ACM remediation and the Building Safety Fund: stakeholder update
An update on the Building Safety Fund, and other measures regarding the remediation of unsafe non-ACM cladding on high rise residential buildings was published on 7 April 2020.
Non-ACM cladding: summary of research
Fire performance of cladding materials research - these reports summarise the research carried out by BRE to investigate the behaviour of selected non-ACM cladding products. A plain English summary has been included.
Ban on combustible materials
The government is banning combustible materials on new high-rise homes and giving support to local authorities to carry out emergency remediation work. See further details on the ban.
The government’s fire door investigation
The government is undertaking an investigation into the fire door industry following concerns about the consistency of flat front entrance fire doors against the required performance standards.
See further details about the government’s investigation and guidance to building owners and occupiers.
Local authority and housing association funding for fire safety work
Building owners are responsible for funding fire safety measures in their buildings, and should draw on their existing resources to do so.
We will consider the removal of financial restrictions for local authorities where these stand in the way of essential work being done. This does not include general improvements or enhancements to buildings which go beyond this.
In line with their co-regulatory obligations, any housing association that has concerns about its ability to meet the necessary costs must contact the social housing regulator as soon as possible to discuss the matter.
The government will keep these arrangements under review.
Housing health and safety rating system
The housing health and safety rating system (HHSRS) is a risk-based assessment evaluation tool to help local authorities identify and protect against potential risks and hazards to health and safety from any deficiencies identified in residential premises.
An addendum to the HHSRS has been produced for practitioners to provide guidance on the assessment of high-rise residential buildings with unsafe cladding (and allow for a more robust assessment).
New clarified Approved Document B 2019
Approved Document B is building regulation in England covering fire safety matters within and around buildings. It has been redrafted to clarify its language and content in line with the department’s style guide for approved documents.
The announcement is provided in the Circular published on 5 July 2019.
Advice: other fire safety concerns
See information and advice for leaseholders, occupiers and building owners about other fire safety concerns raised following the Grenfell Tower fire.
Independent expert advisory panel
Following the Grenfell Tower fire in June 2017, the government appointed an expert panel, chaired by Sir Ken Knight, to advise the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, on immediate measures needed to ensure building safety and to help identify buildings of concern. On 5 September the panel’s remit was extended and widened to include other building safety issues.
The panel’s members have a wealth of experience in fire and building safety, including testing processes, and are drawing in wider technical expertise as necessary to inform their advice to government.
The government is aware that local authorities and other building owners are also seeking clarification of actions they should take in relation to buildings with other external wall systems. The expert panel will consider these issues after the systems tests are addressed.
See details of the independent expert advisory panel’s work.
Independent Review of Building Regulations and Fire Safety by Dame Judith Hackitt
An Independent Review of Building Regulations and Fire Safety was led by Dame Judith Hackitt. Its purpose was to make recommendations that will ensure:
- a sufficiently robust regulatory system for the future
- residents feel that the buildings they live in are safe and remain so
It examined building and fire safety regulations and related compliance and enforcement with the focus on multi-occupancy high rise residential buildings.
The government published the consultation on its reforms, Building a Safer Future, in June 2019. The consultation response was published 2 April 2020, and sets out the government’s plans for bringing about the biggest change in building safety for a generation. This new regime will put residents’ safety at its heart, and follows the announcement of the £1 billion fund for removing unsafe cladding from high-rise buildings in the Budget.
Industry Safety Steering Group
Chaired by Dame Judith Hackitt, the Industry Safety Steering Group (ISSG) provides support and challenge to industry to help deliver meaningful change to building safety practice and culture.
The group of cross-sector experts meets on a bi-monthly basis. See the.
The group has published their second report on their findings on industry progress on culture change. The government has responded to the report and published the letter from the Minister of State for Building Safety and Communities to the Chair of the ISSG, Dame Judith Hackitt.
A copy of their first report on their findings on industry progress on culture change and a letter from the Minister for Housing to the Chair of the ISSG, Dame Judith Hackitt was published in July 2019.