Scottish government to offer free safety assessments of buildings with cladding

The Scottish government plans to offer free inspections to homeowners living in flats with cladding from June.

A Single Building Assessment programme will be launched to carry out the safety assessments, which will take place on a whole building.

This will help buyers and sellers avoid any issues in qualifying for mortgages without having to take out an External Wall System (EWS1) Report on their individual property.

The measures are subject to the Scottish National Party retaining its majority in the Scottish Parliamentary Election on 6th May 2021.

Kevin Stewart, Scotland’s housing minister, said: “As part of this proposal, agreed unanimously by representatives of homeowners, surveyors, property managers, lenders and developers in our Ministerial Working Group, we will start assessments in June with remediation funding confirmed as soon as possible afterwards, possibly as early as August.

“By funding the Single Building Assessments we will have a clear picture of the scale of the issue. This will enable us to provide support for the remediation work required – I do not want people left facing unfair remediation costs. This approach will also save homeowners hundreds of pounds that they may otherwise have faced through paying for an EWS1.”

Scotland plans to spend all of its funding from the UK government to address cladding problems, while it called for clarity on when it will receive more.

Stewart added: “We are committing every penny of the £97.1 million consequentials we have received so far towards this ambitious programme of work.

“We cannot guarantee that there will be enough public funds to support all the work that is needed, and other parties such as developers must continue to play their part where construction is not as it should have been.

“We have not yet been given clarity about how much or when we will receive the further funding promised from the UK government and we continue to urgently press for this. When we do receive this, we will commit to ensuring it goes towards this major programme of work.”

Trade body UK Finance backed the announcement.

Charles Roe, director of mortgages at UK Finance, said: “UK Finance welcomes the Scottish government’s ambitious plans to assess buildings for fire safety issues, which takes into account the unique legal tenure position in Scotland. If successfully implemented, the new Single Building Assessment will be an important and welcome initiative to get the housing market moving in Scotland.

“We will continue to work with Scottish Government as it develops the detail needed to deliver the new approach.”

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