Progress made on ACM high-rises but private sector still behind

90% of ACM high-rises have been remediated or have work on site, the government's latest Building Safety Programme update revealed.
Grenfell Tower on fire above the London skyline on the morning of 14 June 2017.
The Grenfell Tower fire on 14 June 2017 was the worst UK residential fire since the Second World War. Credit: Natalie Oxford/Creative Commons

All social sector and student high-rises fitted with unsafe ACM cladding have been remediated or have work underway but private sector buildings are still lagging behind, new government figures have revealed.

Releasing its December 2020 update on its Building Safety Programme, the government said that that 417 (90%) of the 462 high-rise buildings identified to have ACM cladding have been fully remediated or have work on site, an increase of 31 since the end of November 2020.

216 (47%) have now been fully remediated, while 159 buildings started remediation work last year, the highest annual increase yet.

Despite the progress in the public sector, the pace of works remains sluggish in the private sector with 58% of unsafe ACM-clad private sector buildings still to be fully remediated.

The housing secretary Robert Jenrick MP said: “Today’s stats show that – despite the pandemic – significant progress has continued to have been made with remediation work either complete or on site on around 95% of buildings, rising to 100% in all social or student high rise buildings.

“This is a big step forwards. While there is still more to do, we are helping make the highest risk buildings with dangerous cladding safer, more quickly.”

The statistics show that of the 156 social sector buildings with ACM cladding, 90 have completed remediation while 66 remain unremediated with works having been started or awaiting building control sign-off.

All 54 student accommodation blocks identified with unsafe ACM cladding systems have also started remediation, with 44 (81%) being completed.

In comparison, only 64 (30%) of the 214 private residential buildings identified as unsafe have completed remediation, an increase of two since November. 150 (70%) buildings have yet to be remediated, although 112 (52%) have started works.

Overall, just 89 (42%) of private residential buildings have fully completed remediation or have had their ACM cladding systems removed, although this was an increase of 16 since November.

The government estimates that there are around 12,200 to 14,600 dwellings in the 145 of the 150 private residential buildings yet to be remediated that are occupied.

The building safety minister Lord Greenhalgh said: “Building owners are responsible for making sure that their buildings, and the people who live in them, are safe. However, some need to do more and it’s unacceptable a minority are yet to start work.

“We are in contact with the remaining buildings where remediation has not started and we are clear if work does not take place urgently we will take further enforcement action.”

The government has come under fire for the pace of its Building Safety Programme, introduced in the wake of the Grenfell Tower fire.

Last year, the Public Accounts Committee found that only a third of the 455 buildings with unsafe ACM cladding had been fully remediated three years after the disaster, including just 13.5% of private sector buildings.

The figures released today do not account for the number of high-rises fitted with unsafe non-ACM cladding, with around 1,700 buildings in total estimated to remain unsafe.

However, the real total of unsafe non-ACM buildings is likely to be far higher. As of 15 January, the government’s £1 billion Building Safety Fund to tackle non-ACM cladding has seen 2,820 registrations. £95.9 million of the Fund has so far been allocated.

Related Posts