Manchester City Council have signed the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government’s (MHCLG) Building Safety Pledge.
The pledge responds to the review undertaken in the wake of the Grenfell tower tragedy and ensures that building safety is at the heart of all construction and development - and properties still bearing unsafe cladding or fire systems should be remediated as a matter of priority, where it is safe to do so.
The pledge, now signed by 26 leaders across the country, urges building owners to continue to prioritise this work during the Covid-19 crisis - while ensuring social distancing can be adhered to.
Hundreds of Manchester residents are still living in high rise properties that require emergency remediation works to ensure they comply with fire regulations.
Many of these are leaseholders who are unfairly being made responsible for the associated costs - sometimes in the region of up to £80,000 per person - as building owners resist picking up the full cost of the necessary work.
Signing the pledge follows the Council being named an ‘early adopter’ of the Hackitt Review’s recommendations for building safety.
The main aims of the scheme of early adopters is for members to:
Lead and drive forward Hackitt recommendations to champion building safety and share best practice to encourage culture change across industry.
Implement changes across their organisations to ensure building safety is considered upfront so that buildings they are working on are safer for residents, prior to changes in regulations and legislation.
Support Government and play an active role in the development of building safety policy.
Cllr Suzanne Richards, Manchester City Council’s executive member for housing and regeneration, said: “For too long residents in some high rise buildings have had to live with the worry and stress that their home may not be safe. We have campaigned with them and on their behalf for months to urge building owners to do the right thing.
“It’s important that during the coronavirus outbreak this vital work can continue, where it is safe to do so, which is why we welcome and have signed this pledge.
“Manchester people deserve homes they can trust and above all else, we must prioritise their safety. And this must be done without leaseholders bearing the brunt of costs through no fault of their own.”
Fran Reddington from the Cladiator Group in Manchester, said: ‘These are extremely difficult times for everyone. We are immensely grateful that Manchester City Council is working with the Mayor and his team, GMFRS and other parties to ensure that Cladding and other fire safety issues are prioritised at this time.
"Thousands of residents across Greater Manchester are suffering with the threat of meeting significant costs for the required works and interim measures. This causes stress and mental health issues.
"The required works will still take many months, but the pledge will make a positive difference and is welcomed by all Manchester Cladiators residents."