What was in place for buildings lower than 11m?
Before these revisions were put to the house, buildings lower than 11m had not seen any funding from the government in terms of remediation work. Mr Andrew advised the House that upon receiving the Buildings Safety Bill, the House of Lords had “extended the definition of ‘relevant building’ to buildings of all heights containing two or more dwellings.”
The minister for housing attested that “There is no systematic risk of fire with buildings below 11 metres. Low-rise buildings are therefore unlikely to need costly remediation to make them safe. Lower-cost mitigations such as fire alarms are likely to be far more appropriate and proportionate. Assessments carried out in accordance with the new PAS 9980 principles should produce more proportionate responses than costly and, ultimately, unnecessary remediation.”
This amendment to the original Bill has provoked instances of Leaseholders taking the costs for unnecessary remediation works. The minister continued to say: “We will take a very dim view of freeholders who seek to exploit leaseholders to pay for unnecessary works.”
The expected amount of qualifying structures under 11m in height needing extensive remedial work is very few. Therefore legislation containing all buildings of more than two dwellings under 11m in height will inevitably categorise thousands of buildings as needing work when only a few would need substantial remediation.
Due to the lower overall risk, the minister advised that buildings under 11m will be considered, on a case-by-case basis, to ensure that any remediation measures taken are appropriate and the leaseholder will not receive unjustified charges.