Following the re-opening last summer of the Building Safety Fund (“BSF”) (which funds remediation of unsafe non-ACM cladding systems on residential buildings 18+ metres tall), the Government has now launched a pilot of the medium-rise scheme (“MRS”).
Funded by the Building Safety Levy, the MRS will cover residential or mixed-use buildings between 11 to 18 metres tall where a developer cannot be traced or held responsible for remediation works (i.e. the developer has become insolvent/gone out of business).
The full scheme is set to be rolled out next year. In the interim, the Government has invited approximately 60 buildings across England to apply for the Homes England run pilot which is focused on buildings where leaseholders are facing increased costs due to waking watches and/or raised insurance premiums. Responsible Entities (e.g. freeholders, management companies, Right to Manage companies, etc.) who are not involved in the pilot can at this time register their details with Homes England to allow the Government to understand how many applicants there may be for the MRS.
While more details of the eligibility and application process for the MRS are set to be announced next year, current information stipulates that buildings will be assessed based on a Fire Risk Appraisal of External Wall construction (“FRAEW”) undertaken in line with PAS 9980. The scheme is to fund remediation works where an FRAEW indicates that action is required to address life safety fire risks associated with external wall systems.
Likely due to the number of overwhelmed fire engineers, the Government has interestingly indicated that those intending to apply for the MRS should not get an FRAEW before applying. Rather, evidently the Government is setting up a panel of fire risk assessors, details of which will be provided to applicants during the application process.
The MRS will be welcome news for those leaseholders in 11-18 meter buildings, especially since, according to the Government’s MRS Leaseholder Fact-Sheet, the Government has “worked closely with the major mortgage lenders who have agreed that lending decisions will take account of building safety work that will be carried out by developers and through the government schemes according to this guidance”. As a result, it is hoped that problems previously encountered in buying and selling such leasehold residential dwellings will be overcome, and 2023 will be a good year for leaseholders up and down the country.
Edwin Coe is currently assisting numerous clients with their cladding and fire safety claims. Should you have questions about the MRS, the Building Safety Fund or cladding issues, please contact Brenna Baye or any other member of our Cladding Team.
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