Residents in England’s high-rise flats can access financial support to make their dwellings safer while they wait for remediation work on new fire alarm systems to complete.
First launched in January, the Waking Watch Relief Fund has been supporting thousands of residents in England’s high-rise buildings with unsafe cladding. It pays 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 was originally set aside 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 Fund has just re-opened to use unallocated funding from the original £30 million pot. The precise amount available will depend on funding decisions currently being made but will be at least £2 million. The intention is to allocate funds to eligible buildings on a first come, first served basis until the whole of the £30 million budget is exhausted or the application period closes.
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.
Applications re-opened on 26 May 2021 for a four-week period, closing on 24 June 2021.