Bill to tackle unsafe cladding published

Bill to tackle unsafe cladding published

Legislation giving Scottish Ministers powers to assess and remediate buildings within scope with unsafe cladding, where consent of the owners cannot be provided, has been published.

Under proposals in the Housing (Cladding Remediation) Bill, the Scottish Government would also create and maintain a Cladding Assurance Register to give residents confidence about the assessment and works undertaken once those buildings are remediated.

The bill would also give ministers the power to establish a Responsible Developers Scheme, to support engagement with developers and encourage them to pay for or carry out remediation work.

Whilst subject to further consultation, such a scheme would likely include agreement to pay for remediation costs, with potential sanctions for developers that are eligible but do not join or continue membership.

Housing minister Paul McLennan said: “We are determined to safeguard people living in buildings with unsafe cladding which has been identified through the cladding remediation programme. Where work is required, it should be carried out swiftly and this Bill will allow us to build on progress to date by addressing barriers to assessment and remediation work.

“The public commitments that have already been made by many of Scotland’s developers to identify, assess and remediate their buildings mean that public money can be focused on buildings without a linked developer.

“The opportunity for future creation of a Responsible Developers Scheme – through secondary legislation – would recognise those developers who are doing the right thing and protect the reputation of responsible operators.”

Legislation to ban combustible cladding on high-risk buildings, and the highest risk metal composite cladding material from all buildings, was passed by the Scottish Parliament on 22 April 2022.

The legislation was implemented by amendments to the Building (Scotland) Regulations 2004 introduced on 1 June 2022. The amendment removed the fire test option. This change now completely prohibits combustible materials from use on domestic high-rise buildings above 11m. This also includes certain categories of other high-rise buildings, such as care homes and hospitals. This was the third set of changes made to fire safety standards for cladding in Scotland since the Grenfell Tower Fire.

The highest risk metal composite cladding material is completely banned from incorporation in any new building of any height and as replacement cladding for existing buildings in Scotland.

Masonry and concrete cladding finishes on buildings are not combustible and can be assessed readily through visual inspection. Other non-combustible materials like granite cladding may need to be assessed to measure risk, depending on the method of its construction.

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