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Councils handed power to strip cladding from private blocks

30 November 2018 | By Neil Gerrard

James Brokenshire

The government has handed powers to local authorities to strip unsafe aluminium composite material (ACM) cladding from private housing blocks.

The move came as secretary of state for communities James Brokenshire warned that private building owners should “pay for this work now or expect to pay more later”.

Local authorities will be allowed to carry out emergency remediation work on private residential buildings above 18m which still contain ACM cladding with the government’s backing.

They will also be given the power to recover costs from the buildings’ owners.

The new powers were announced as regulations were laid in Parliament yesterday (29 November 2018) which will give legal effect to the combustible materials ban announced in the summer.

The ban means combustible materials will not be permitted on the external walls of new buildings over 18 metres containing flats, as well as new hospitals, residential care premises, dormitories in boarding schools and student accommodation over 18 metres.

Schools over 18 metres which are built as part of the government’s centrally delivered build programmes will also not use combustible materials, in line with the terms of the ban, in the external wall.

Brokenshire said: “Everyone has a right to feel safe in their homes and I have repeatedly made clear that building owners and developers must replace dangerous ACMcladding. And the costs must not be passed on to leaseholders.

“My message is clear – private building owners must pay for this work now or they should expect to pay more later.”

In the last update from the government’s Building Safety Programme, of the 289 private sector buildings identified with unsafe ACM cladding, just 19 had finished remediation, and 21 had started, with 98 having a remediation plan in place but with works unstarted. Plans for a further 102 buildings remained unclear.

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