Tens of thousands of residents in high-rise flats can now access financial support to make their dwellings safer while they wait for remediation work on new fire alarm systems to complete.
The Waking Watch Relief Fund has been launched to support thousands of residents in England’s high-rise buildings with unsafe cladding. It will pay for the installation of fire alarm systems, removing or reducing the need for costly interim safety measures such as a ‘waking watch’, where a building is continually patrolled in case of a fire.
A total of £30 million is available for qualifying work, covering the upfront capital costs of installing alarm systems. Each building is different, and this will impact on costs, however, expenditure above £1,500 per dwelling may require additional evidence from the applicant to show whether the costs are necessary and reasonable.
The Government estimates that £30 million will pay for the installation of alarms in between 300 and 460 buildings and will impact between 17,400 and 26,680 leaseholders.
Residential building owners and private landlords who own high-rise buildings with potentially dangerous cladding will qualify. In most cases, buildings will be in the private sector. They must be over 18 metres in height and have unsafe cladding systems. They must currently have a waking watch in place where these costs have been passed on to leaseholders.
Social sector buildings where the Registered Provider can evidence that waking watch costs have been passed to leaseholders and the costs of installing an alarm will fall on leaseholders will also be eligible.
Private sector buildings in all areas of England, except for those in Greater London, and social sector buildings in all areas of England will be eligible.
The deadline for submission of applications is 14 March 2021.