This page includes information about the actions we’re taking to make sure our buildings comply with the latest government guidance on fire safety. As government advice and legislation continues to evolve we will keep this page up to date. We are also in regular direct communication with customers in HPL cladded buildings to keep them up to date on our progress. This page includes information on fire safety remediation works, finding the right solutions to ensure the highest level of safety, funding the cost of remediation works as well as how you can contact us about fire safety. If you live in an apartment and you’re thinking of remortgaging, selling or staircasing, you can find information on EWS1 forms here.
Update following the Government’s 14 February announcement
The Government’s announcement on 10 January 2022 set out its plans to protect leaseholders and make industry pay for the cladding crisis. The announcement brought much needed clarity in regard to who will be liable for paying to fix unsafe cladding on blocks above 11 meters. However, there were still many fundamental unanswered questions, including what measures were in place to support with other remediation works and building failures. The announcement also only applied to buildings above 11 metres, leaving the question of who will pay the costs if developers and cladding manufactures don’t, for example if the organisation has now closed or gone into administration.
On 14 February 2022, the government announced further measures to protect leaseholders from building safety costs, in the form of amendments to the Building Safety Bill. Whilst the announcement in January outlined measures to protect leaseholders from ever paying towards the costs of remediating unsafe cladding, this latest announcement set out the government’s intention to protect leaseholders from non-cladding costs too. Under these plans, developers are expected to remediate buildings between 11 and 18m that they either built or refurbished, regardless of whether they have leaseholders living in them.
We know this will be welcome news for many of our leaseholders and we’ll keep you updated as we receive more guidance and clarity from the government.
Following the fire at Grenfell Tower, the government completed a review of building safety and announced new guidelines to ensure properties are safely constructed and maintained. We continue to take action so that our buildings are compliant with the latest government recommendations to ensure the highest level of fire safety for our customers.
In line with these recommendations, our priority was the removal of ACM cladding (the cladding most similar to that on Grenfell Tower) from 3 blocks of flats in Portsmouth. This work was completed in June 2021. We’re also prioritising the safe removal of HPL cladding from 3 blocks in Southampton and work started on the replacement works in March 2021.
To make ACM and HPL cladded buildings safer we’ve taken quick action. Ahead of work starting to remove the cladding on these buildings we put in interim extra measures to ensure everyone remained safe. We have covered the costs of all of these interim measures so none will be recharged to customers.
Finding the best solution to replace ACM and HPL cladding has been complex and we want to make sure the solutions for these buildings provide the highest level of safety.
In 2020, the government set up a Building Safety Fund to help contribute to the huge costs associated with remediation work needed to make HPL cladded buildings safe, and in recognition that this is impacting many residents across the country who face the possibility of having to pay for works to the building they live in. To support our leaseholders and shared owners, we made a bid for this funding.
We’re pleased that our application for funding was successful for Empire View and Gantry Gourt. The funding to be granted will cover the costs of the cladding replacement works that would otherwise be charged to our leaseholders at Empire View and Gantry Court. This means leaseholders in these properties won’t have to pay any costs in relation to cladding remediation works and we’ve been quick to inform them of this news. We will continue the work we’ve already been doing to progress plans to replace the cladding as soon as possible.
To ensure safety of everyone living in these 3 HPL blocks before the cladding is replaced, we’ve moved quickly to complete and cover the cost for the following:
Now we’re focusing on our high-risk residential buildings which are over 18 metres or have a known issue. We’re in the process of completing thorough inspections of these blocks, before then rolling out inspections to buildings over 11 metres. These investigations will be prioritised by risk, based on things such as height and building materials, amongst other factors. Our buildings have current safety certificates and some external building materials that need to be replaced are not a threat to safety and will be replaced over time.
Due to the extent of the new government guidance, we anticipate that inspections, testing and any necessary remedial works to our buildings may take several years to complete. If an inspection or any works are needed to a building, we will keep customers informed.
In the meantime, we’d like to reassure you that the safety of customers is our main priority. We’re working closely with Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service and can confirm that all blocks are deemed safe. Fire risk assessments for our buildings are reviewed in line with the risk that each building poses and any recommendations are dealt with immediately or added to a programme to be completed as soon as possible. Please also be assured that all our blocks received building control sign off at the time of the build.
If you're a leaseholder living in an apartment and you’re thinking of remortgaging, selling or staircasing, you can find information on EWS1 forms here.
If you have any concerns or questions about fire safety or remediation works at your block, please contact us via firstname.lastname@example.org.
You can view more practical information on how to protect yourself from fire on our fire safety webpage.