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External Wall Systems, Cladding, Fire Safety

Scottish Government Update May 2023

James Gibb remains committed to keeping homeowners informed and as such please see below the content of what we have been updating our developments on the pilot scheme. 
The pilot scheme of 27 developments has now been replaced with Pathway Two and the Building Accord Programme. Pathway Two will be communicated by Scottish Government (SG) directly to those buildings included in Pathway Two in May/June 2023. The Accord Programme is relevant to buildings with cladding and fire safety challenges where the homebuilder remains in existence. As part of the Accord approach SG will be communicating with the homebuilder on their involvement in the review and remediation of the affected building. The pilot buildings will also fall into the above programmes now.

The up-to-date position is noted below:

  • Scope remains buildings of 11 meters and above, where an initial report and expression of interest has been made via the Single Building Assessment Application process.        
  • 105 buildings are known via an expression of interest I Scotland and are noted as being affected by SG.
  • 14 buildings are at the stage of conclusion of reporting the remedial work required.
  • 7 of the 14 buildings require more technical reporting completed.
  • 1 building has commenced remedial work.
  • 1 building has a waking watch in place arranged by SG. A fire detection system is being installed currently.
  • 1 building has a waking watch in place arranged by the developer/local authority.
  • SG has a technical panel in place to review SBA data and home reports to identify clear consistency in the approach.
  • SG will be procuring the contracts and project management directly going forward and the factors position will be to assist in the communication and meetings required.
  • SG have a full resource team now in place which has the skillset in technical, legislation and communications.
  • Project Management Teams are being applied to ‘intolerable buildings’ identified via reports. 

The Scottish Government remains in constant communication with the key stakeholders involved in the process for selling and mortgaging properties. Discussions remain ongoing regarding the position of stakeholders when it is known that there are challenges noted on a building and remedial is considered or underway. It is hoped that the latter points are enough to provide confidence for lending to commence again to the properties in the building.

We will keep you advised of any further updates, but we hope that the next communication in this regard will be direct from Scottish Government. 

Helpful Questions and Answers

What does this mean for developments we know of and not on the pilot scheme? 

Further updates are imminent from Scot Gov direct to buildings which have provided an expression of interest via the SBA programme.

If you are a James Gibb managed building that has known fire safety and external wall systems with us your building will be on Pathway Two as above.

What is the Property Manager/Factor Remit?

  • This is not factors remit but as a company/industry we have agreed with Scot Gov, that we will communicate with homeowners on their behalf and facilitate funds only.
  • We will not be project managing any of this process but will be the point of liaison in communications with homeowners.
  • Scot Gov have accepted that we will apply a fee to this process for our additional time and resource, as it is a non-core service. Like Project Management Fees. We are not surveyors and do not have PI insurance to be involved in any work on this basis. We should not be instructing, or supervising work or become involved other than facilitation of funds, communication flow and meetings.

What happens if our building is not known to the factor?

  • This requires consultation and agreement with homeowners as per the property factors act and deed of conditions. If apathy exists and agreement cannot be reached, contact the Director’s Office. There are channels that we can go down to assist with this. Once a mini survey is achieved it is submitted with an application to Scot Gov SBA scheme. They then review and confirm if funding for a full survey can be provided. This will then determine whether a homebuilder is approached, or Scot Gov manage the next stage.

What is the difference between an EWS1 form provided by a fire safety engineer which is a single property assessment and a single building assessment?

  • What has changed recently is that there have been ongoing discussions between RICS, insurers UK lenders and SG and they all have been communicating over recent months.  They have confirmed that single building assessment/EWS1 forms will be accepted as confirmation that a building has had a survey and is safe.
  • Scottish Government Single Building Assessment Team will then arrange for a full fire safety survey for an external wall appraisal and fire safety review. On completion this will be submitted to Scottish Government to review what is required to make the building safe.
  • Once this work is completed, Scottish Government will carry out a review of the information received and provide an update homeowner on the next stages of the process.
  • We have assisted homeowners/steering group when some EWS1 forms were not accepted as a single property assessment for property sales/mortgaging. This is because the direction in the UK by key stakeholders, such as UK finance (various lenders), RICS and the insurers have been requesting single building assessments, as is the position in England and Wales. This is because a property that receives a single property assessment and EWS1 form, can be connected to a property or building where there is a fire safety issue, e.g., cladding at another location of a building, a balcony with combustible design material.

James Gibb will continue to liaise with all parties involved to ensure that the stages of this process are communicated between all parties and the homeowners.

‘I have an EWS1 form, why do we need to do this SBA?’. ‘I know a property has sold with a single property assessment/EWS1 form, why do we need this SBA?’

  • Please refer to the above point regarding single property assessment v single building assessment. Some lenders have not caught up with the big 6 UK lenders and may not know their exposure. The big 6 are looking for an SBA, not an SPA. They may not lend on a single property 
  • It is the homeowner’s decision. Once an SBA is done, it may highlight issues which stop sales until the development/block is remediated. This is not the factor's fault. We neither built the development nor were involved in building it. James Gibbare there to facility manage maintenance only, not large-scale works and this is recognized by Scot Gov. The Cabinet Secretary, Shona Robinson noted this in a speech 12th May 2022. 

We hope that this update assists.

James Gibb doing it the right way

Out of Hours Emergency. Call us on 0333 240 8325 where our helpline operators will assist you

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