New Waking Watch Replacement Fund 2023

The UK government has introduced a new fund worth £18.6 million to cover the expenses of installing alarm systems in residential buildings as a replacement for Waking Watch measures. The fund applies to all residential buildings in England that currently have a Waking Watch in place, regardless of who bears the costs of the waking watch.

This fund builds upon the previous Waking Watch Relief Fund (WWRF) of £35 million, which focused on high-rise buildings with waking watch due to unsafe cladding, and the Waking Watch Replacement Fund 2022 of £27 million, which extended eligibility to residential buildings of any height with waking watch due to fire safety defects.

The new fund provides financial support to a broader range of buildings and aligns with the guidance issued by the National Fire Chief’s Council (NFCC) on buildings transitioning to a ‘Simultaneous Evacuation’ fire safety strategy from a ‘Stay Put’ approach.

Key points about the fund are as follows:

  1. Application guidance: Applications for the fund began on May 25, 2023. Applicants should refer to the “Waking Watch Replacement Fund 2023 – full fund application guidance” document and use the provided application form.
  • Beneficiaries: Leaseholders who have faced high costs or delays in implementing interim safety measures will benefit from the fund. It aims to deliver better, long-term fire safety systems in their buildings.
  • Eligible buildings: The fund covers the upfront capital costs of installing a common alarm system. The fire alarm system should generally adhere to the recommendations of BS 5839-1 for a Category L5 system, as outlined in the NFCC’s revised guidance on simultaneous evacuation.

To be eligible, the building must:

  • Be in England.
  • Be a residential building.
  • Have a Waking Watch in place.
  • Retrospective costs: The fund will cover the costs of alarm systems where installation work commences on or after May 25, 2023.
  • Fund delivery: The Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities (DLUHC) will centrally administer the fund to all eligible buildings.
  • Waking Watch Relief Fund 2021: Those who applied to the 2021 Waking Watch Relief Fund can find further information and guidance in the “Waking Watch Relief Fund prospectus 2021” document.
  • Waking Watch Replacement Fund 2022: Those who applied to the Waking Watch Replacement Fund 2022 can find additional information and guidance in the respective application guidance documents.

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