Slow progress in removing Grenfell-style ACM cladding revealed

More than 160 residential tower blocks covered in aluminium composite cladding have yet to see any removal work begin on them, despite more than two years having passed since the Grenfell Tower fire.

The slow rate of progress is frustrating tenants, landlords, campaigners and politicians alike as the Government’s latest building safety bulletin shows that 145 privately owned residential blocks and 18 social housing blocks are still fully clad in ACM with remediation works yet to begin.

Ministers have said they expect the removal of all ACM cladding from private high-rise blocks to be completed by June 2020. They have also threatened private sector owners and landlords that enforcement action will be taken if they fail to take action by then, although this is being given less prominence since the change of Prime Minister.

A Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government spokesperson said: “It is unacceptable that residents are still having to live in buildings with unsafe ACM cladding.

“Progress has been far too slow and due to inaction from some building owners we are committing £600m to speed up the pace of remediation.

No more excuses

“There are no more excuses. The private sector remediation fund means building owners can get on with making their buildings safe as quickly as possible. Our message remains clear that building owners must now get on with this crucial work.”

Of 158 social housing blocks with ACM cladding, 18 have yet to see work start, 83 have work in progress and 57 have had all cladding removal work completed. Social housing landlords have been given until the end of this year to remove the ACM cladding from their high-rise blocks.

Of the 179 private residential blocks with ACM cladding, only 13 blocks have had the removal works completed, while works are still in progress at 21 blocks. Work has yet to start on removing cladding from 145 private blocks.

The latest bulletin also revealed that ACM clad blocks are continuing to be found, with three private blocks being recently added to the numbers. In early May, the Government announced it would set up a £200m fund to pay for the removal of cladding from private residential blocks where work had stalled. The fund will remain open until the end of the year.

Of the 56 student blocks to have ACM, 33 had now seen work completed, while 17 have yet to see work start. Only two out of 29 hotels have seen work completed, while two of nine publicly owned buildings have seen their cladding fully removed.

By Patrick Mooney, Editor