Government Fire Safety
June 26 2020 By Mitch Cookney
Government committed to delivering the biggest change in building safety for a generation
The government have recently announced measures that are aimed at going further, to ensure that residents are safe in their homes, and say that the slow pace of improving building safety standards is to be tolerated no more. Whilst building owners are responsible for the safety of their residents, further support will now be provided from local authorities for property owners who do not yet have a clear plan for remediation.
Following Grenfell, there have been further high-rise fires, such as the student accommodation block in Bolton (November 2019), which have highlighted the fact that sufficient measures have not yet been taken by some property owners to ensure the safety of their residents.
As a result, the government have taken steps to assist with the remediation of unsafe materials. The Association of Composite Door Manufacturers has been forthcoming, working alongside building owners to replace fire doors that have failed testing. Homes England have also announced a £1bn cladding remediation fund, working with building owners and developers to ensure the remediation of unfit cladding is fast tracked. Furthermore, there are proposals by the government to lower the height threshold for sprinkler requirements, which is another clear step being taken to reduce fire risks on high-rise buildings.
From an insurance point of view, if you are an owner of a building where remediation works are to take place, there is a duty of disclosure to inform your current insurers of details of the works being undertaken. It would not be uncommon to see a property insurer reduce cover for buildings that have significant works taking place. The likelihood is that cover would be restricted to Fire, Lightening, Explosion and Aircraft (FLEA) only, meaning that many perils would not be covered until the works are completed.
For contractors visiting your site, your property insurer is likely to request confirmation that these contractors are adequately insured. These insurance products are likely to include Public Liability, Professional Indemnity and Contractors All Risk, where applicable. Whilst you will have an ongoing duty to your tenants with regards to building security, it is also likely that your current insurers will want you to implement additional security measures, such as manned on-site security.
Therefore, it is important that property owners understand insurance requirements and the covers in place to protect themselves in instances which could result in potential complications.
If you have any queries about how you can ensure you are adequately covered during any remediation works on your property, please get in touch on:
T: 0161 830 7556