Muckle can help net building owners government cash to put right unsafe cladding

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If you’re responsible for the safety of a building where non-ACM (Aluminium Composite Material) has been used time is running out to take advantage of government cash from the Building Safety Fund.

The fund is designed to protect private and social housing residents from hefty bills from landlords as they look to put right unsafe cladding on the outside of buildings over 18 meters high.

Who can apply?
Residents cannot apply directly to the fund. Applications must by made by those responsible for the safety of the building – such as freeholders or managing agents.

Though originally announced in the March 2020 budget, a year on, and only £226.8m of the £1 billion in financial support has been allocated and time is running out. The closing date for applications to the fund is 30 June 2021.

Our experience
The team at Muckle LLP have extensive experience helping landlords with applications to the Building Safety Fund. In recent months we’ve worked with the teams at:

Northpoint – A 10-storey tower block in Bromley.

Empress Heights – a mixed use development in Southampton

Broadway House – a mixed use development in Wimbledon.

We understand that in general leaseholder Directors of Right to Manage or Management Companies have been thrown in to this issue without any government support, expected to immediately get to grips with the funding requirements and the plethora of necessary construction appointments and documents in order to make the application for funding.

Once the funding is secured, the remediation works still need to be managed. It is a huge undertaking. We look at how the work can be carried out. Whether your contractors will need access to third party land in order to carry out some or all of the works, whether there are other parties with rights over the land and if so what we can do about that and still get the works carried, what to do if a leaseholder refuses access to their property to enable the works to be carried out.

Using our experience we are able to map out the milestones for each project, assist with client understanding of all that is required and guide them through the constituent parts of the Funding Agreement, any managing agent appointment, contractor and consultant appointments, the practicalities in carrying out the remediation works, what is owned, where third party consents are required, tying this in with the leaseholder consultation requirements.

How does the application process work?
Your application goes through a number of stages with decisions at each stage taking at least four weeks.

Register interest
Building owners or managing agents need to register with the Building Safety Fund and self-certify the cladding system used is eligible for funding. Evidence in support of the claim must then be submitted for consideration by the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) to confirm eligibility with a decision being made. An appeals process can be used if unsuccessful.

-Stage 1
Once eligibility has been confirmed the applicant must confirm their identity and responsibilities for the building. Making sure you have the correct legal information in place for this Stage 1 process can be a complex process. Applicants without the finances needed to start a project can choose to apply for advance funding (pre-tender support).

-Stage 2
The Stage 2 process involves submitting a detailed project plan and costs and details of any leaseholders believed to be ‘economic actors’ within the building (such as commercial premises, or those who are renting out their property) and their relevant proportions of service charge liability. The MHCLG funding board will then review submitted information.

-Funding
When funding is approved a grant funding agreement must be signed by the building owner to confirm the accuracy of information. Once any conditions (such as a start date and signed works contract) are met, payment can be made. Typically this is around 80% of the total funding including any pre-tender support already made. Completion of works must be checked by building control before a final payment is made.

How can we help?
We’re here to help, every step of the way and can help ensure you have all the evidence you need to give your claim the best chance of success.

We’re happy to review project management construction contracts and sub-contracts. With funding confirmed, we can advise on the funding agreement, ensure proper consultation with leaseholders and ensure access is in place to effect works .

For more information, or to discuss queries relating to the Building Safety Fund more generally, contact Charlotte McMurchie on 0191 211 7979 or email [email protected]