If your UK home has unsafe, combustible cladding, you need to act fast.
Ever since the UK watched the horror of the Grenfell Tower disaster unfold, we have been wary of cladding. The UK Government set up new guidelines in the months and years following the tragedy, to try and govern the use of fire safe building materials on external walls. Prior to this, fire safety checks were not carried out on external cladding.
What’s going on with UK Cladding Remediation?
Establishing these new guidelines immediately put thousands of homeowners at a disadvantage. Those that owned their high-rise flat were suddenly required to have certification that they had followed government guidance, even though there were a lack of safety officers to distribute this certification. The government has set up a remediation fund to help leaseholders that want to buy or sell their property to do it. All-in-all, though, it has been a political nightmare.
The 5 Steps to Cladding Remediation
Here are the steps you should take to have your dangerous cladding removed.
Step 1 – Assess the Damage
First, find out if the cladding outside your building is anything to be concerned about. If you are a leaseholder, you can ask the building’s owner to have the fire safety check carried out. They may refuse. You can talk to your landlord and ask them to do the same if you rent out your home. If your building or landlord refuse, you can raise the issue with your local council. The Citizen’s Advice page has handy information on this route.
Step 2 – Apply for Funding
If you think your building or flat qualifies for funding, you can apply to UK gov to get help with the costs. They have set aside funding for private sector properties but there are several conditions you must obey for your application to be successful. You can read more about the private sector ACM cladding remediation fund on their website.
We should point out that the UK press have been hounding the government in this matter. Some reputable newspapers have even referred to the fund as a ‘black hole’ of cash that homeowners don’t have access to.
Step 3 – Call in the Professionals
If you need your building’s cladding removed, calling in a cladding remediation service is the best way to do it. They can carry out assessments of your cladding and tell you if it needs to be replaced. They can then establish an efficient way to safely remove the cladding without causing damage to your building. They will consult with the necessary fire safety professionals to plan a strategy that will get the cladding down in as fast and safe a manner as possible.
Step 4 – Strip Non-Compliant Materials
If you have non-compliant cladding on the exterior of your building, you can strip it away once you have a plan. The plan should be strategic and take fire safety rules into account. Stripping away the materials already on your building usually requires employees working at height and the use of heavy machinery. It is not something you should undertake on your own.
Step 5 – Repair and Replacement
Cladding remediation might include replacement of the cladding that was non-compliant. It might not. You may wish to have the building stripped and leave it as it is. This will result in a loss of insulation within the property. The building will also be exposed to the elements which the cladding formerly protected it from.
Should You Replace Your Cladding?
It is up to you whether you replace the cladding on your building once it has been stripped. Benefits include thermal protection, structural reinforcement, and better protection against the elements. It does cost a lot of money, but it can make your building aesthetically pleasing and structurally sounder.