Figures show 128 fire-risk blocks over 18m are not yet repaired, despite assurance from housing minister last April
The government has failed to meet its own target to complete the repair of all high-rise buildings clad in ACM by the end of 2021.
Figures published by the department show that 128 of the 481 identified high rise buildings above 18 with ACM cladding were yet to see remediation work completed as of the end of December 2021. That accounts for just over a quarter of those at risk.
This contradicts an assurance given by the housing minister Chris Pincher (pictured, left) in April 2021 that he expected all work to remediate high-rises to have been completed by the end of 2021.
That timeline cited by Pincher was already a vast delay on the original timeline for repairs set by the government, that all the work would be completed by June 2020, itself three years’ on from the fire.
The latest figures show that of the 128 buildings where repair work has not completed, 32 have not even started. A further 64 buildings have had works completed but are awaiting sign-off from building control – twice the number at the same time last year.
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The data shows that unspecified “enforcement action” is being taken against the owners of 14 buildings not forecast to start by March this year.
The data release states the government now expects that 15% of the ACM high rises identified by December 2019 will not even have works completed by March.
However, it does show there was progress in 2021, with the number of blocks where work has completed rising from 216 to 289.
These figures cover only those buildings with Grenfell-style ACM cladding that are above 18m in height, with fire safety crisis also affecting buildings of between 11-18m and those clad in other materials or affected by different fire safety problems.
The government estimates there are around 78,000 buildings of between 11-18m in height, mostly flat blocks, containing around 1.6 million homes.
The figures come after Pincher used a written answer on April 21 last year to state that “It is our expectation that building owners will have completed ACM remedial works on all high-rise residential buildings by the end of 2021.”
Figures also released by the department this morning showed that there had been 3,046 applications to the government’s £3.5bn Building Safety Fund covering 3,445 buildings. However, just 910 of these applications are being progressed, with the rest either deemed ineligible, withdrawn or not providing enough information to proceed.
Last week housing secretary Michael Gove announced a new plan to raise £4bn from housebuilders to pay for repairs for buildings of between 11-18m in height, scrapping a plan by his predecessor, Robert Jenrick, to force leaseholders to borrow money to pay for the repairs.
A spokesperson for the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, which oversees the building safety programme post Grenfell, said building owners were responsible for the safety of their buildings and it was “unacceptable” that some were yet to start work.
“While we continue to see progress in making buildings safer, leaseholders deserve better,” the spokesperson added. “As outlined in our bold new plan for building safety, we are actively pursuing companies at fault, with a dedicated team to expose those responsible and an online portal which allows leaseholders to keep track of their building’s remediation.”