The Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities is launching a pilot opening of a new 11-18m remediation fund, the Medium-Rise Scheme (MRS).
The medium-rise scheme (MRS) is a new fund for 11 to 18m blocks that will ensure that, where a responsible developer cannot be identified, funding is now available to pay for external wall system repairs and mitigations in those buildings too.
The MRS will be delivered on behalf of the government by Homes England (HE) through a digital platform and the initial pilot will target a small number of buildings that have interim or simultaneous evacuation measures in place
The MRS will be funded through an extension to the Building Safety Levy, which will be chargeable on new residential developments in England. A consultation was published on 22 November which runs until February 2023 and seeks views on the design and implementation of the Building Safety Levy.
49 responsible developers have now committed to remediate life critical fire safety works in buildings over 11 metres that they have played a role in developing or refurbishing over the last 30 years in England. In addition, they have agreed to reimburse the government if any buildings they had a role in developing or refurbishing, required remediation funding.
The Government is delivering on its mission to make sure that people feel safe and secure in their homes and that those that are responsible for dangerous buildings pay to fix them. The Building Safety Act enshrines in law our commitment that no qualifying leaseholder living in a medium or high-rise building will have to pay to remove dangerous cladding and that most leaseholders are now protected from any costs for remediation of non-cladding defects and interim measures (including waking watch costs).
Owners of eligible buildings in the MRS pilot and beyond will be able to apply for funding so that remediation work gets underway as soon as possible. Funding decisions will be proportionate to risk and based on the advice of fire safety professionals using the British Standards Institute PAS 9980 methodology which offers guidance to support proportionate recommendations. By taking this approach we will ensure that only necessary works are carried out, minimising disruption for leaseholders and residents and ensuring value for money for the taxpayer.
Building owners who seek to hold up remediation work or otherwise avoid their responsibilities can expect swift action to be taken against them. We will therefore give local regulators the resources they need to identify buildings where remediation is being delayed and use new powers such as remediation orders where necessary, to make sure resident safety is paramount.
The MRS will open to other buildings in 2023 and further details on eligibility and the application process will be announced shortly.