SIX years after the tragedy of the Grenfell tower fire in London, a £33m scheme has been launched in Northern Ireland to improve building safety.
The Department for Communities (DfC) announced the fund will apply to residential buildings over 11 metres tall, where external wall cladding is found to be potentially unsafe.
Another criteria is that a responsible developer cannot be identified, traced or held responsible.
It follows the rollout of the Cladding Safety Scheme (CSS) for similar buildings in England.
DfC has now partnered with the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities in England to administer the scheme.
Applications in Northern Ireland are to be administered by Homes England as part of the English scheme.
A DfC spokesperson said: “This fund has been launched following ongoing consultation with residents, developers and owners of potentially affected buildings in Northern Ireland.
“Its primary aim is to make homes safe. However, it is also hoped that the fund will go some way to restoring confidence to the market and easing the financial stress caused by inflated home insurance premiums and other associated costs for leaseholders who have been unable to sell their homes.”
Further information on the Cladding Safety Scheme is available at this location.
Over the weekend, the DUP MP Gavin Robinson said the work would address problems for nearly 500 apartments in east Belfast alone.
After what he described as “painstaking” delays to determine who should administer the scheme, Mr Robinson said: “The scheme will come as a huge relief for scores of homeowners who have struggled to re-mortgage or sell and faced the prospect of a remediation bill of up to £25,000.”
“Whilst the application process will naturally take time, I know management companies have been diligently arranging their applications. With light at the end of the tunnel, this announcement reflects the benefit of dogged and determined efforts to get the job done.”