Waking Watch Replacement Fund opens for applications

February 10, 2022

Leaseholders will be further protected from rip-off, misused fire safety measures due to new multi-million-pound government funding to remove so-called Waking Watch patrols, it was announced on 27 January 2022.

The £27 million funding will pay for the installation of fire alarm systems in buildings of all heights, rather than just being limited to those over 18 metres.

It means hundreds more buildings where leaseholders and residents have been forced by their freeholders to pay for costly fire safety patrols will now be able to install fire alarm systems instead at no cost to themselves, saving people on average £163 a month.

The Fund follows the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, Michael Gove’s warnings to industry that either they come forward and pay to fix the building safety crisis or the government will impose a solution in law.

Leaseholders in buildings awaiting the completion of remediation works are currently being forced to pay for Waking Watches, where a building is continually patrolled in case of a fire, by their building owners.

This additional funding will help end the misuse of this practice and encourage the installation of fire alarms, which are proven to be both more effective and cheaper in the long term, in an estimated 300 additional buildings.

A key focus of the government’s overhauled approach to building safety is restoring common sense to the market and ensuring a more proportionate approach to fire safety in buildings under 18 metres.

Responsible person

The Responsible Person (RP) – the person or business responsible for ensuring the safety of residents in their building – can apply for the fund and provide the evidence needed. They are encouraged to speak to their local Fire and Rescue Service about the installation of the fire alarms in their building and to keep leaseholders informed.

Which buildings will be eligible?

The fund will cover the upfront capital costs of installing an alarm system. The common fire alarm system should generally be designed in accordance with the recommendations of BS 5839-1 for a Category L5 system

To be eligible:

• the building must be located in England

• the building must be a residential building

• the building must have a Waking Watch in place where the costs have been passed on to leaseholders.

Social sector buildings where the Registered Provider can evidence that waking watch costs have been passed to leaseholders and the costs of installing an alarm will fall on leaseholders will also be eligible.

The application period will close at 23:59 on 28 March 2022.

 

This is valid as of 10th February 2022.

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