Following the Grenfell Tower fire and subsequent review, the government has enacted legislation relating to the use of combustible materials in the cladding of new high-rise buildings containing flats, as well as new residential care homes, student accommodation and hospitals amongst others.
The new legislation comes into force on 21 December 2018 and will affect any new residential buildings constructed on or after this date and over 18 metres in height.
If works are being carried out to a building so as to constitute a “material change of use”, say from use as offices to residential accommodation, then such works will also be caught by the new rules as well but only where the building is above 18 metres in height.
If a building notice or initial notice has been given or full plans deposited with a Local Authority before 21 December 2018, then the new rules will not apply but only where those works have commenced or start within two months of that date.
In the government’s press release, it states that the Communities Secretary is taking action to speed up the replacement of ACM cladding on residential buildings and that the government is providing support to Local Authorities to enable them to carry out emergency works to affected buildings.
The press release states that the government is to provide Local Authorities with the necessary financial backing to carry out such works but that Local Authorities are expected to use their existing powers to recover the cost from the building owners.
However, the new legislation itself does not deal with this issue and if Local Authorities do exercise their powers, they may meet some resistance from owners of affected buildings who do not want to or are unwilling to pay.
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