Over 150 high rises yet to see ACM removal

According to the government’s latest data release, 163 high rise blocks clad with aluminium composite material (ACM) have not seen removal work begin – 26 months after the Grenfell Tower fire.

Inside Housing reported on the data released by the government’s building safety programme, which breaks down into 145 privately-owned and 18 social housing blocks nationwide. None of these blocks have seen remediation work begin ‘despite increasing pressure’ from the government, which had only last month declared that it expected all ACM to be removed from high rises across the country by June 2020, and for social housing ACM to be removed by the end of 2019.

That same announcement had threatened private building owners with enforcement action ‘if they failed to take action’ to remove the cladding, but the data shows that of the 179 privately-owned blocks clad in ACM, 145 had not seen work start, 21 had seen work start and 13 had seen cladding fully removed. For social housing, 158 blocks had been found to have ACM cladding, with 18 yet to see work start, 83 having seen work start and 57 having had the cladding removed.

Again, in terms of the privately-owned blocks, no remediation work had begun on any such building ‘in the last two months’, while only one new social housing block had seen work begin ‘in the same period’. ACM clad blocks are also ‘continuing to be found’, with three further privately-owned blocks adding to this latest data’s findings.

The data also broke the figures down into those relating to building types, with 56 student accommodation blocks found to have ACM cladding. Of these, 33 had seen work completed, but 17 had not seen work begin, and only two of 29 hotels with ACM cladding had seen work completed. Two of nine publicly owned building over 18m meanwhile had seen cladding fully removed.

A spokesperson for the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government spokesperson stated: “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.

“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.”