The Welsh Building Safety Fund (WBSF) has been released by the Welsh Government in order to make steps of compliance in advance of legislation due to be introduced over the next few years. This is a phased programme to ensure remediation funding can be effective in supporting leaseholders.
The Welsh Government acknowledges that developers still have a clear role to play in contributing to addressing safety defects in order to protect leaseholders from costs and developers have already set aside funds for this purpose. The UK government has not yet confirmed the level of funding for Wales following announcements by them earlier this year. However, the Welsh Government has insisted they will focus on progressing this forward regardless to avoid further delays.
In order for the government to fully understand the extent of the problem in order to address it, the building remediation fund is the first stage in this process in which the government will provide funding for surveys to check various safety risks of a building. These surveys will help to identify what measures and actions are required to help make a building safe.
The intended outcomes are to be able to identify any constraints of a building imposed by the history or character of a building, to identify a set of improvement measures (such as safety or energy efficiency), identify which order works should be carried out, and to provide residents and leaseholder with clear information relating to any fire safety remediation works.
Fire Safety is included in the Building Remediation Passport and focuses particularly on compartmentation. For any buildings considering fire safety improvements, consideration should also be given to improving energy efficiency and reducing emissions. For high-rise residential buildings all requirements must be considered to make it safe for all residents in the event of a fire. The fire safety aspect of the building passport aims to identify improvement measures and set target improvement, identify potential interactions between measures to ensure a whole-building approach is followed, and identify how works would address issues of concern.
This is essentially an asset management system that looks to include multiple opportunities for works to be combined to help economies of scale, minimise disruption, and utilising resources available. This will be taken forward by responsible persons, building owners, and managing agents to identify safety measures and provide recommendations. Please note leaseholders, tenants, or residents of the buildings can not take this application forward. The survey will provide information on what defects are present and how they can be addressed as well as what necessary remediation is recommended. This will ensure that each remediation fits the requirements of the individual building.
There is a Building Remediation Passport Application form, which responsible persons or people with authority from the responsible person can complete, which will start the funding process. This funding will commission comprehensive fire safety surveys for eligible buildings.
For phase 1 funding, multi-occupied residential buildings 11m and over will be eligible. However, high-rise buildings (18m+ or 7 or more storeys) will be prioritised initially. This will apply to both public and private sectors including mixed-use buildings.
Responsible persons/ building owners/ managing agents or developers will be responsible for commissioning the surveys once funding is granted. There is also a range of factors that will impact on timescales for surveys such as the availability of suitable qualified professionals.
As a Block Management company, we will be pursuing this route on behalf of our directors who request these. If you are interested in appointing Seraph as your block managing agent and guiding you through this process please don’t hesitate to contact us.