Guidance

Waking Watch Relief Fund

This summary explains the new £30 million fund to pay for the costs of installing an alarm system in buildings with unsafe cladding.

The government has announced a £30 million fund to pay for the costs of installing an alarm system in buildings with unsafe cladding. Common Alarms systems will enable costly Waking Watch measures to be replaced in buildings waiting to have unsafe cladding removed.

The fund builds on recently updated guidance published by the National Fire Chief’s Council (NFCC) on buildings that change from a ‘Stay Put’ to a ‘Simultaneous Evacuation’ fire safety strategy.

Whilst waking watch, when established and operated in accordance with NFCC guidance, is an acceptable risk mitigation strategy, the guidance is clear alarms are preferable on the grounds of both safety and cost efficiency.

Re-opening of the Waking Watch Relief Fund on 26 May

On 26 May 2021 the Waking Watch Relief Fund re-opened to applications for a 4-week period using unallocated funding from the initial £30 million. The application period will close on 24 June 2021. This tranche of the funding will be administered by MHCLG and applicants should use the application form on this page. Completed applications should be sent to WWRFapplications@communities.gov.uk.

We have updated the fund application guidance which will apply to applicants in this tranche:

Application guidance and forms

(please note applicants applying from 26 May should use the application forms below but should refer to the updated guidance)

Who will benefit?

Leaseholders who may have faced high costs for interim safety measures by providing financial support and delivering a better, long term fire safety system in their buildings.

Swift remediation of unsafe cladding, for which the government has provided £1.6 billion, remains the priority and this fund should not be considered as a substitute.

Which buildings will be eligible?

The fund will cover the upfront capital costs of installing an alarm system. The common fire alarm system should generally be designed in accordance with the recommendations of BS 5839-1 for a Category L5 system, which is referred to in the NFCC’s revised guidance on simultaneous evacuation.

To be eligible a building must:

  • be in the private sector
  • be over 17.70 metres in height
  • have an unsafe cladding system
  • have a waking watch in place where these costs have been passed on to leaseholders

Social sector buildings where the Registered Provider can evidence that waking watch costs have been passed to leaseholders and the costs of installing an alarm will fall on leaseholders will also be eligible.

Will retrospective costs be considered?

The fund will cover the cost of alarms installed after 17 December 2020.

This is to ensure it incentivises buildings to install a common alarm system and to reduce the dependency on Waking Watch.

Who is responsible for applying for the fund?

Responsibility for applying to the fund will rest with the Responsible Person (RP).

Under the Fire Safety Order, the RP is the entity responsible for ensuring the safety of residents in their building from fire and assess the risk and identify suitable mitigating measures where they are needed.

The RP should already have the information they need on which they can consider their eligibility.

We encourage RPs to speak to their local Fire and Rescue Service about the implications of installing a common alarm in their building and to keep leaseholders informed of their intentions.

Status of the original tranche of funding

The fund opened to all eligible private sector buildings in England, except in Greater London, and to all eligible social sector buildings regardless of location on 31 January 2021. The application window for this group of buildings closed on 14 March 2021.

The Greater London Authority administered the fund in Greater London. This part of the fund opened on 18 March 2021 and closed for applications on 30 April 2021. For queries regarding the Waking Watch Relief Fund in London email WWRFapplications@london.gov.uk.

All applications received in this tranche are now being processed.

£22 million of the £30 million Waking Watch Relief Fund was allocated to the 8 metropolitan areas, including London and Greater Manchester local authorities combined, estimated to have the largest number of eligible buildings across England. The remaining £8 million was administered centrally by MHCLG to eligible private sector buildings in other areas and to eligible buildings in the social sector.

Local/Combined Authority Waking Watch Relief Fund Allocations

Local/Combined Authority Allocated Funding (£million)
Greater London 16.1
Greater Manchester 2.1
Birmingham 1.1
Leeds 0.7
Liverpool 0.5
Bristol 0.5
Newcastle 0.5
Sheffield 0.5
Total 22.0
Published 22 December 2020
Last updated 26 May 2021 + show all updates
  1. Waking Watch Relief Fund re-opened to applications from 26 May to 24 June 2021. Added fund application guidance for the new tranche.

  2. Added application guidance and forms; added Local/combined authority Waking Watch Relief Fund allocations

  3. First published.