How is Cardiff Council Ensuring Crucial Fire Safety Works?
Cardiff Council has announced it is developing a loan scheme to ensure developers of high and medium-rise apartment blocks across Wales can carry out critical fire safety works as quickly as possible. How is this helping residents feel safe and secure in their own homes?

The council would operate the £20 million Welsh Building Safety Developer Loan Scheme, providing interest-free loans to eligible developers in Wales.

Developers who wish to take advantage of this offer will be expected to pay back the funding to the public purse within five years.

The scheme will remove barriers stopping developers from completing works

When designing and planning a property development project, it is crucial to consider the legal health and safety requirements.

Following Grenfell, the Welsh Government has made significant progress to identify fire safety issues in Welsh residential medium and high-rise buildings, with a focus on all residential buildings of 11 metres and over in height.

In addition to remediating buildings in the social sector; addressing orphan buildings and developing a leaseholder support scheme, designed to help people in Wales who are in or facing significant financial hardship as a direct result of fire safety issues.

Climate Change Minister Julie James explained that the scheme aims to remove any barriers that could stop developers from completing works: “We have provided £20 million loan funding to send a message that, in Wales, we will do everything we can to ensure works are carried out as quickly as possible by developers.

“Again, I would like to commend these developers who have signed up to the Welsh Government legally binding documentation, and look forward to a productive relationship and swift resolution to fire safety issues in our medium and high-rise buildings.”

This new loan will build on that activity and be available to participant developers who have signed up to the Welsh Government’s Pact, agreeing to fund and undertake all necessary remediation as quickly as reasonably possible to address life-critical fire-safety defects in these buildings.

Providing reassurance to residents of their safety is a must

The government wants to ensure that any reasons for delay are minimised and that developers are able to carry out work as swiftly as possible.

It will work to remove any potential delays that developers may face while financing is arranged to address matters such as compartmentalisation, fire breaks and fire doors as well as cladding risks.

Cabinet Member for Housing and Communities, Cllr Lynda Thorne, expressed that the council is prioritising fire safety: “In the immediate aftermath of the Grenfell tragedy, the Council took steps to remove all cladding that no longer met current fire safety standards on own high-rise flats, to ensure residents felt safe.”

She continued to highlight how providing residents with safe housing is a must: “Now, we are pleased to be playing a part in supporting private residents in the city and across Wales by developing this scheme. We understand the concerns of residents impacted by this issue, and the difficulties they have faced over recent years so the public commitment of participant developers to remedy these critical issues is very welcome.”

Providing reassurance to residents on their own safety and security is our chief aim here and we are pleased to collaborate with Welsh Government to this end, which will enable developers to meet their responsibility as quickly as possible.

Under the terms of the arrangement with the Welsh Government, the council would be responsible for administering the provision of the loan fund only. It would have no role in determining whether works have been completed to the required standards.