Advice for building owners of multi-storey, multi-occupied residential buildings

To support of the Building Safety Programme, the Expert Panel have issued advice on the measures building owners should take to review ACM and other cladding systems to assess and assure their fire safety, and the potential risks to residents of external fire spread.

The Expert Panel has also issued advice on other key fire safety risks that need to be managed appropriately.  This consolidated note brings the Expert Panel’s advice together in a single document and supersedes the existing Advice Notes 1 to 22. The advice on the assessment of non-ACM external wall systems (previously Advice Note 14) has been updated and incorporated, and some of the advice within the previous published notes has been condensed to make it clearer. You can access the advice note January 2020 here and the supplementary note November 2020 here

Simultaneous Evacuation Guidance

To enable people to continue to live in relative safety in their own homes, interim solutions are needed to mitigate the risk. Interim fire safety arrangements can be adopted for the temporary, short-term management and mitigation from the risk of a fire and the risk to life if a fire occurs.

These arrangements can range from simple steps to remove potential ignition sources that might give rise to a fire, through to a change in the evacuation strategy for a building, moving from Stay Put to Simultaneous Evacuation supported by the installation of a common fire alarm and/or a Waking Watch.

The aim of a waking watch is to ensure there is sufficient warning in the event of fire to support the evacuation strategy and has been utilised in buildings before the Grenfell Tower fire. It is intended for very short periods of time whilst the increased risk is being urgently addressed. Guidance to support a temporary change to a simultaneous evacuation strategy in purpose-built blocks of flats can be found here.

Building safety fund for the remediation of non-ACM Cladding Systems

This fund will cover reasonable eligible costs for the removal and replacement of unsafe non-ACM cladding systems on high-rise residential properties in England. Funding will be provided to the Responsible Entity for each building. The Responsible Entity is the organisation that has the legal obligation or right to carry out the remediation works and the right to legally recover the costs from leaseholders as service charge. The Responsible Entity may be the building freeholder or head leaseholder or a management company or Right-To-Manage company who has primary responsibility for the repair of the property.

The fund will be for the benefit of leaseholders in the private sector who would otherwise incur the costs through service charge arrangements. Applicants from the social sector will need to have demonstrated during registration that the costs of remediation are unaffordable or a threat to financial stability. Fund Application Guidance can be found here.

Waking Watch relief fund

The Waking Watch relief fund is a fund to pay for the costs of installing a common fire alarm system in eligible residential buildings with unsafe cladding systems. Common fire alarm systems will enable costly Waking Watch measures to be reduced or replaced in buildings waiting to have unsafe cladding removed. Fund application guidance can be found here.