The Welsh government has announced it will fund fire safety surveys for multi-occupied buildings over 11 metres in height.
The surveys will be funded by the Welsh Building Safety Fund and will go beyond cladding issues, including assessing internal issues such as ineffective compartmentation.
All buildings over 11 metres will be eligible to apply for funding, with high-rise buildings over 18 metres in height set to be initially prioritised.
The scheme will be open for applications from responsible persons, building owners and management companies starting from this autumn.
The Welsh government has called on the UK government to confirm when Wales will be given further funding to further its building safety agenda.
Julie James MS, minister for climate change with responsibility for housing, said: “What we do not yet know is exactly how many buildings are affected and to what extent.
“It is critically important that we are able to understand the true scale of the problem in order to properly address it.
“Every building is different and the fire safety surveys will identify what measures and actions are required to make a multi-residential building as safe as it can be and protect lives and property in the event of a fire.”
The Welsh government has already taken steps to address building safety after the 2017 Grenfell Tower fire. This includes ensuring that all buildings in Wales with ACM cladding have been remediated at no cost to leaseholders, echoing steps taken by the UK government.
The Welsh government also made £10.5 million available last year to remediate affected buildings in the social housing sector, with 12 buildings ending up accessing this support.
The findings from the fire safety surveys will inform a new “Fire Safety Building Passport”, which will be developed by those responsible for buildings.
The passport will set out what defects have been identified in a building, the remedial action required to rectify them and when fire safety measures must be implemented.
It will also outline how recommended works align with other works the building requires, such as planned maintenance and potential decarbonisation measures.
The Welsh government is developing its Welsh Building Safety Fund alongside plans to reform Wales’ building safety system, which it outlined earlier this year in its Building Safety White Paper.
Image: The Senedd building in Cardiff, home of the Welsh Parliament. Credit: CC0