Thousands of residents are set to benefit under new high-rise sprinkler proposals, as announced by the government today (5th September).
Currently under consultation, changes include reducing the building height for when sprinklers are required from the current 30 metres (approximately 10 floors) and above to 18 metres (approximately six floors).
A new Protection Board with the Home Office and National Fire Chiefs Council is to provide further reassurance to residents of high-risk residential blocks that any risks are identified and acted upon.
The Communities Secretary has made up to £10m per year in funding available to support the Board so it can provide tailored building checks and inspections on all high-risk residential buildings in England by 2021.
The Board is due to operate till a new building safety regulator is established to oversee the new regulatory regime for buildings, and legislation on a new building safety regime is introduced.
The Board will also work to ensure all building owners are acting on the latest safety advice and interim measures are in place in all buildings with unsafe aluminium composite material (ACM) cladding.
As of 12th September, the government is opening the application process for a £200m fund to accelerate the pace of the removal and replacement of unsafe ACM from privately owned buildings.
Robert Jenrick MP said: “Residents’ safety is our utmost priority, and we are making vital improvements to ensure buildings are safe.
“I have listened to concerns on sprinklers from residents and building owners, and our proposals are an important step forward in shaping the future building safety standards.
“The new Protection Board will make sure building owners don’t flout the rules, as well as ensuring fire safety risks in other buildings are being addressed.”
Speaking on the £200m of funding for private building owners to remove unsafe cladding, he added: “Government funds are available for private building owners to remove and replace unsafe ACM cladding.
“And let me be clear, inaction will have consequences, and I will name and shame those who do not act during the autumn.
“There is no excuse for further delay – and for building owners to fail to take action now would be frankly disgraceful.”
Building safety minister Lord Younger said: “I’m determined to ensure buildings across the country are safe for residents, and the opening of our private sector fund and commitment to new building safety legislation is an important step in driving that forward.
“This government is acting, and I’m calling on all building owners and developers to step up and make any changes needed to ensure their buildings are safe.”