Covering the cost of replacing unsafe cladding
The Building Safety Fund (BSF) was introduced by the government in 2020 to cover the cost of replacing unsafe non-ACM cladding on high rise buildings over 18 metres in England.
The total amount available through the fund is £5.1bn. It is overseen by the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities (DLUHC).
So what does the fund mean for our residents? Here are some of the most common questions we’re asked:
1) Can leaseholders apply to the fund?
No, leaseholders are not able to apply.
2) Who can apply to the fund?
Only what is known as the ‘responsible entity’ of a building can apply. Responsible entity refers to:
- head leaseholder
- private sector building owner or their agent
- right-to-manage company (RTM)
- resident management company (RMC)
- registered provider of social housing such as a local authority or housing association
3) What does the BSF cover?
The fund aims to cover a range of remediation costs such as replacing unsafe cladding and insulation. It doesn’t cover other fire safety costs. The fund is only available for blocks where some or all of the residents are leaseholders. In blocks where there are both tenants and leaseholders, the fund will only cover the portion that would otherwise have been passed on to leaseholders.
4) Who decides if a building is eligible?
The DLUHC decides if the building meets the fund’s criteria. If it does, the applicant (responsible entity) can move onto the next step and apply to the fund. If it doesn’t, they can appeal the decision.
5) Has Peabody applied for the BSF for your buildings over 18m?
We’ve applied for the fund wherever possible for buildings that are over 18 metres. Because of the strict eligibility criteria, we haven’t been able to apply for all of them.
6) How do I know if you’ve applied to the fund for my building?
We’ve written to leaseholders living in the buildings that we’ve made applications for.
7) How can I keep track of BSF applications?
The government launched the Building Safety Fund Leaseholder and Resident Service (Building Safety Fund: Glossary of terms - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)) in January 2022. It gives leaseholders living in blocks over 19 metres, access to updates on the status of applications made to the fund for their building. It also shows them where their building is in the process. Each building has been allocated a unique code. We’ve written to residents with details of the code for their building. They need to input the code when they visit the BSF Leaseholder and Resident Service website (GOV.UK - BSF Leaseholder and Resident Service (communities.gov.uk)).
8) Where can I find more support or information about BSF applications?
In March this year the government launched a new online service (Building Safety Fund 2020: A step by step guide for leaseholders and residents - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)) where you can find lots of useful information.
We’re in regular contact with the BSF team, making sure they have all the information they need to register and process our applications and we provide updates when there’s progress to report.
The fund reopened in July 2022 and follows a slightly different process to the previous fund. You can find out details here on the government website. One of the main changes is that, as part of the application, we need to provide an assessment of the risks posed by fire spread over external walls to identify what, if any work, is needed. This is called a Fire Risk Appraisal of External Walls (FRAEW) and must be carried out by competent professionals who use their expert judgement to assess risk and any appropriate mitigations.
9) How many buildings have been registered for the fund?
As at 31 August 2022, the latest government update showed the Building Safety Fund had received 222 social sector grant claims for 253 buildings. 152 registrations – covering 177 buildings – were given the go-ahead to apply for funding. The majority that didn’t go on to apply for funding were either ineligible (30) or withdrew their registration (21).
In the private sector there have been 2,824 registrations for 3,212 buildings. Of those registrations, 936 – covering 1,018 buildings – were able to proceed with applying for funding. The majority of the other applications were either ineligible (959) or were withdrawn before or after the eligibility stage (798). The number of private sector buildings where remediation has started is 186, while 35 are completed and waiting for building control sign-off.
10) How much funding has been approved so far?
Nearly £1.5bn has been approved from the fund – £1.3bn for the private sector and £139m for the social sector. As of 31 August 2022, the Building Safety Fund’s total expenditure was £588m, £100m of which was in the social sector.