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Fire Brigades Union issues response to Government’s cladding announcement

12 January 2022

THE FIRE Brigades Union (FBU) has stated that Michael Gove’s latest announcement concerning the building safety crisis still leaves residents “desperately short of where they need to be” more than four years after Grenfell.

As reported by Fire Safety Matters, the announcement – itself underpinned by a letter issued to the residential property developer industry – indicates that the Government will try and secure up to £4 billion from developers for cladding repairs to buildings between 11 and 18.5 metres in height.

The BBC has reported that the Government may pay the costs if funding cannot be secured from developers. Previously, many leaseholders in these buildings had been set to pay the cost of the necessary repairs.

However, this doesn’t cover other building safety defects in buildings of this height, while existing funding doesn’t cover these other issues in buildings over 18 metres tall. Issues with defective fire doors, internal compartmentation, wooden balconies or other construction defects have also rendered many buildings unsafe.

It’s not clear that £4 billion will be enough to cover the cost of these repairs. According to the BBC, “experts” have questioned whether this sum will be sufficient.

Increased fire risk

Building safety crisis problems increase fire risk and, therefore, put firefighters and residents at further risk. The FBU has a long track record of fighting for improved fire safety and has supported residents since the Grenfell Tower tragedy exposed the scale of the building safety crisis.

Matt Wrack, general secretary of the FBU, said: “This latest announcement from the Government is a direct result of determined campaigning by leaseholders and tenants. It shows that the Government can be pressured into progress. We commend the efforts of campaigners.”

Wrack continued: “We have always been clear here. Residents should not carry any cost for failures they didn’t cause. Developers, suppliers and building owners are responsible. They are he one who should pay.”

Further, Wrack noted: “This announcement from the Government does leave us with cause for concern. This change does not cover all fire safety failings in buildings of this height. Over four years after Grenfell, this means that residents are left desperately short of where they need to be. Government failures have allowed this situation to happen. They cannot shirk their responsibility. The FBU stands in solidarity with all victims of the building safety crisis.”