Cladding Update

We remain on site at 7 different blocks with work progressing well. The sites we are currently working on are Issigonis House, Kelway House and the Townmead Estate which is made up of: Cairns House, Down House, Dwyer House, Ismalia House and Spackman House.

The safety of residents is our top priority. We have robust procedures and comprehensive controls in place regarding fire safety and we want to ensure all of our buildings continually meet and exceed the required fire safety standards.

Residents should feel safe and be safe in the buildings they live in. It is for this reason we are doing everything we can to comply with all Government guidance and regulations, to ensure all of our buildings meet the required standards.

We welcome the Government announcement that leaseholders shouldn’t have to pay for cladding replacement and building safety remedial works, as well as receiving further detail about being able to recover such costs from developers. These developments have been incorporated by the Building Safety Act 2022, which received Royal Assent on 28 April 2022. We are pleased to confirm that we have updated our policy to reflect this new position.

In line with the Building Safety Act 2022, we will not pass to leaseholders any costs associated with remediation of fire safety defects relating to cladding, external wall systems (including defective or non-existent cavity barriers), balcony flooring, defective compartmentation between units/floors and defective flat entrance doors.

Any associated costs that are not prohibited under the Building Safety Act may be passed on to leaseholders as a last resort, subject to a future consultation, to be carried out in line with Government guidelines at the time the work was carried out.

For completeness, we will not pass on any costs for work carried out in respect of interim measures, including temporary fire and smoke detection system installations, evacuation management costs, for example, waking watch costs.

This applies to all leaseholders*, irrespective of the height of the building they reside in.

Like many other housing associations and social landlords across the UK, we have found it challenging to interpret the Government guidance in this area, given the lack of clarity provided before the enactment of the Building Safety Act. This has resulted in not always being able to provide meaningful updates to residents, which has understandably led to significant frustration.

We hope this decision will reassure our leaseholders that they won’t face costs for the historic or interim works described above.

*This may not apply if you’re a buy to let investor or if you own more than three properties.


Why is the cladding & fire safety work being carried out?

In the wake of the Grenfell Tower disaster the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities (DLUHC) has established the Building Safety Programme to make sure that buildings are safe - and people feel safe - now, and in the future. DLUHC has issued a number of advice notes which sets out the immediate actions that building owners should take to address the risk of fire spread. The Building Safety Programme sees the creation of new regulations around building and fire safety and building owners must bring their properties into line with these requirements. Our Cladding and Fire Safety Programme is one of the streams of activity in this area to ensure all our developments are compliant.

What does the cladding and fire safety programme include?

The cladding and fire safety programme involves remediating dangerous cladding systems. This may involve removing the cladding itself, the insulation, or it may involve remediating defects in the cavity barriers which were missing or wrongly installed. The cladding and fire safety programme will deliver remediation to both cladding and associated fire safety works, such as breaches in compartmentation and fire door replacement.

Who will pay for the work?

Our first course of action is to pursue contractors or insurers where they are responsible and where it is legally possible to do so. We are also looking at all other avenues to take on costs, including government funding, if the block meets the criteria. 

What are we doing to help?

We recognise this is a stressful time and leaseholders will be concerned about the prospect of increased service charges. Please be assured that we are investigating every option to cover the costs of this work and service charges will not be affected unless every alternative has been exhausted. 

Is my building safe?

The safety of our buildings is our top concern, which is why we are committed to remediating any safety issues, with priority given to our highest risk blocks. This is a complex, lengthy and costly process. Following the surveys, and with guidance from our Fire Safety team and Fire Engineers, we identified that some of our buildings needed risk mitigation measures put in place until the necessary remedial works can be completed. These have included changes in evacuation strategy and 24/7 patrol, known as Waking Watch. The Waking Watch are on-site to monitor the building for signs of fire and to sound an evacuation signal should a fire occur. We completely understand that residents may feel concerned over the action that is being taken, but we would like to reassure you that this approach is precautionary and has been developed in consultation with fire surveyors and fire assessors to ensure the safety of all residents. The most important thing you can do is to ensure you evacuate the building in the event an alarm is raised and make your way to the assembly point. We are fully meeting the cost of the waking watch provision.

Why haven’t works started?

The safety of our customers and buildings is our top concern, which is why we are committed to remediating any safety issues, with priority given to our highest risk blocks. This is a complex, lengthy and costly process. The works may be subject to the Section 20 process, which involves consultation with leaseholders which has strict timelines that we have to follow.

We are currently on site at 7 blocks, which have been identified as the highest risk. Once we have remediated these blocks we will move onto the next phase of the programme and remediate the next highest risk blocks. 

What is an intrusive survey?

Intrusive surveys are an observational and invasive survey of building components and Systems which assist us in identifying how a building was constructed. This allows our specialist fire safety experts to determine what materials were used in the construction of the building and whether fire safety standards have been met. Samples of the external wall system, such as cladding, will be taken so that its performance can be tested.

Will I receive a copy of the survey report?

Any reports produced as part of our cladding & fire safety programme are for the sole use of SBHA. Disclosing information from reports could compromise our ability to pursue the original developer and this would not be in the best interests of customers or SBHA. We will, however, produce a summary of the findings of each report and we’ll share these findings with customers and we’ll keep you informed of the next steps.

What is an EWS1?

The EWS1 form (External Wall System fire review) is designed to be used for residential properties such as blocks of flats. The EWS process, and resulting form, is a set way for a building owner to confirm that an external wall system on residential buildings has been assessed for safety by a suitable expert. The EWS1 process delivers assurance for lenders, valuers, residents, buyers and sellers.

Can I sell my home?

You can sell your home or staircase further, but this will be dependent on your lender. Some lenders will not offer leaseholders or shared owners a mortgage or loan on a property with cladding without a completed EWS1 form. We are working hard, on your behalf, to obtain EWS1 Certificates for all of our affected blocks.

Indicative Cladding Timeline

Indicative Cladding Timeline

About Shepherds Bush Housing Group

About Shepherds Bush Housing Association

Part of The Guinness Partnership, we have more than 5000 homes, throughout nine boroughs in west London

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