The trade association will continue working with government to deliver a targeted, state-backed indemnity scheme

Biba has backed the UK government’s decision to inject an extra £3.5bn to address cladding on high rise buildings – this is in addition to the £1.8bn previously pledged.

The trade association deemed the move from government a “positive development”.

It has been working with the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) to tackle insurance challenges for cladded buildings.

Earlier this week Biba launched its 2021 Manifesto ‘Resilience’ which pledged to address two problems concerning cladding.

These include the lack of available professional indemnity insurance for surveyors that sign off EWS1 forms and insurers withdrawing from buildings insurance due to cladding being high-risk, even though the government has a plan to replace unsafe cladding, there is not enough funding behind it, and it cannot be rolled out quickly enough.

In Biba’s manifesto, it stated: “Biba believes government needs to create a new temporary PI solution to unlock the delay in making residential cladded buildings safe.”

Biba said it will continue working with a the MHCLG to deliver a targeted, state-backed indemnity scheme to deal with the continuing insurance challenges.

The government will work closely with insurance industry to design an appropriate scheme.

Five-point plan

Yesterday the Housing Secretary, Robert Jenrick also revealed a five-point plan in a bid to provide reassurance to homeowners as well as confidence to the housing market.

Jenrick confirmed that the government will fund the removal of unsafe cladding for all leaseholders in high-rise residential buildings that are 18 metres (6 storeys) and above in England.

Five-point plan to bring an end to unsafe cladding

  1. Government will pay for the removal of unsafe cladding for leaseholders in all residential buildings 18 metres and over (6 storeys) in England
  2. Generous finance scheme to provide reassurance for leaseholders in buildings between 11 and 18 metres (4 to 6 storeys), ensuring they never pay more than £50 a month for cladding removal
  3. An industry levy and tax to ensure developers play their part
  4. A world-class new safety regime to ensure a tragedy like Grenfell never happens again
  5. Providing confidence to this part of the housing market including lenders and surveyors

Meanwhile lower-rise buildings with a smaller risk to safety will now have a new protection from cladding cost removal with a new scheme that will be offered to buildings between 11 and 18 metres via a long-term low interest government-backed financing arrangement.

Under this scheme, leaseholders will pay no more than £50 per month towards the removal of unsafe cladding.

The government is also working to reduce the need for EWS1 forms preventing leaseholder facing delays with properties being bought, sold or re-mortgaged.

In an online statement, the government stated: “It is aware that securing appropriate professional indemnity insurance to cover the completion of EWS1 forms is a major barrier to qualified professionals undertaking EWS1 forms.”

Jenrick said: “This is a comprehensive plan to remove unsafe cladding, support leaseholders, restore confidence to this part of the housing market and ensure this situation never arises again.”

Developer levy

Jenrick also introduced Gateway 2 – a developer levy that will apply when developers seek permission to develop certain high-rise buildings in England.

In addition to this, a new tax will be introduced to the UK residential property development sector, raising at least £2bn over a decade to help pay for cladding remediation costs to ensure that the largest property developers make a fair contribution.

Meanwhile Andrew Montlake, managing director at mortgage broker, Coreco, deemed the intervention “exceptionally late and exceptionally unfair”.

He said: “The government has turned its back on hundreds of thousands of leaseholders in dangerous buildings less than 18 metres high.

“Asking people to pay for mistakes they didn’t make is an absolute travesty and one of this government’s biggest failures yet.”