Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government – Newsletter No 11

Following the Grenfell Tower fire, the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) has established the Building Safety Programme  to cover high-rise residential buildings over 18 metres, including hotels, to make sure that residents of high rise buildings are safe – and feel safe – now, and in the future. This email update provides the latest information and advice for landlords and building owners.

New information you may wish to see

  • To support local authorities with their  work in identifying private sector residential buildings over 18 metres with potentially unsafe Aluminium Composite Material (ACM) cladding systems, the Government will be providing further financial support totalling £1 million to assist the most affected local authorities in identifying these buildings.
  • In addition, the Government is also taking steps to support local authorities in taking further action where cladding constitutes a hazard.  Work is being progressed on issuing a statutory direction as to local authorities’ reviews of housing conditions in their area, in respect of cladding-related issues, and additional statutory operating guidance will be published to support local authorities in conducting hazard inspections and issuing enforcement notices. The department will continue to work with local authorities in developing these.
  • On 27 February the Government published the latest data release  setting out progress made in identifying buildings with potentially unsafe cladding systems. The next release is due in the week commencing 26 March.
  • On 6 March, the department ran a one day conference for local authorities on ensuring the safety of residents in high-rise buildings.  Attendees at the event heard from the National Fire Chiefs Council and a range of LAs on their work to identify potentially unsafe buildings and gather information.
  • Following recent commercial large scale tests on two design variations of a cladding system comprising Category 2 ACM and Phenolic foam insulation, there has been an update to the consolidated advice for building owners following large scale testingon what the results of the tests may mean. Details of these commercial tests are available on the BRE website.

 

In case you missed it

Further information, relevant announcements and correspondence can also be found ongov.uk including:

 

Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Amendment Regulations 2018

Introduction

These amendment Regulations are due to come into force on 6 April 2018 subject to Parliamentary approval. The most significant change is to provide private landlords with more flexibility on the renewal date for gas safety certificates.

Existing requirement in relation to let residential property

The current Regulations require landlords letting residential properties with a gas supply to:

• Arrange for a Gas Safe engineer to inspect all gas appliances and flues before a tenant takes up occupation;
• Provide a Gas Safety Certificate to tenants before they move in; and
• Ensure gas safety checks are undertaken every 12 months and certificates provided to tenants within 28 days.

Amended requirement in relation to let residential property

The amended Regulations place landlords under exactly the same legal obligations but allow a two-month window for the timing of annual checks. A “deadline date” will be allocated to each gas appliance or flue within the scope of the Regulations. Landlords can carry out their annual safety checks between 10 and 12 months from the last check however will be treated as if the check was carried out on the last day of the 12 months validity, thereby preserving the existing expiry date of the safety check record.

This will be a welcome change for landlords who often face issues with property access due to the current strict 12-month deadline and difficulties arranging an engineer. Landlords will no longer need to shorten the inspection period by renewing the certificate before the expiry date and the change should make it much easier for landlords to keep track of future renewal dates as these will remain the same.

Landlords can continue to with their existing checking regime as long as it meets the minimum legal requirement.

Exemption

The Regulations also incorporate an existing exemption which enables alternative safety checks to be carried out where there is no meter to directly measure the heat input, and it is not possible for the engineer to measure the operating pressure. They also extend the scope of the exemption slightly to include situations where a meter is not accessible or the meter display is not working.

Action and Next Steps

From the 6th April 2018, subject to Parliamentary approval, landlords and their managing agents involved in residential letting can benefit from the change in the requirement to complete the annual gas safety check through allocation of a ‘deadline date’ for each appliance or flue which will remain the same each year, while the actual check can be completed within 10 to 12 months of this deadline.

There is also a one off discretion for each appliance and flue so that it can be checked two months after the ‘deadline date’ and allow all such items in a property to be aligned with the same date.

Further Information

For an explanatory note click on the link below:

http://www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/2018/139/pdfs/uksiem_20180139_en.pdf

For access to the Regulations:

http://www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/2018/139/pdfs/uksi_20180139_en.pdf