Major Works

ACM CLADDING ON NPW BLOCK A-E

Recently released “Government Response to the Housing, Communities and Local Government Select Committee Report on the Independent Review of Building Regulations and Fire Safety: Next Steps”. Presented to Parliament by the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government by Command of Her Majesty. Issued dated 18th September 2018.

 Highlighted the particular paragraphs, specifically Government response no. 34.:

Recommendation: Furthermore, it is clear that the ownership and responsibility of privately owned buildings is often complex. For example, some of these blocks do not have a single ‘building owner’, rather an owner of the modest freehold ground rent and the constituent long-leaseholders, the latter often being the only parties with a contractual obligation to carry out remedial works. We therefore recommend that the Government conduct an urgent review into responsibility and liability of such buildings to ensure the necessary work can be carried out for the safety of residents, which is paramount. The Government should then produce further subsequent guidance for building owners. [Paragraph 85]

 

33. While it is encouraging that an insurance company has recently accepted a claim to pay for remedial work on a private sector development in Greenwich, nevertheless, more needs to be done now to ensure that unsafe cladding is removed urgently. To avoid any further delay, we propose that the Government introduces a low-interest loan scheme for private sector building owners, to ensure that remedial work is carried out as quickly as possible and that costs need not immediately be passed on to leaseholders. [Paragraph 86]

 

34. Government’s response: The Government has been clear that building owners are legally responsible for ensuring residents’ safety. They must undertake remediation action where potentially dangerous ACM cladding has been used and we have said that they should do all they can to protect leaseholders from incurring costs, either funding it themselves or looking at alternative routes such as insurance claims, warranties or legal action.

 

35. We are not persuaded that a review into responsibility for buildings is necessary; and would be concerned about the further delay that it could introduce into the process. We have written to the relevant building owners to remind them of their responsibilities and to highlight that, where building owners do not take action, local authorities have extensive enforcement powers to ensure that required remediation is undertaken. We welcome Mace’s decision to cover the full costs of recladding two blocks at its Greenwich Square Project in south-east London. We also welcome the decision of developers such as Barratt Developments, Legal & General, Taylor Wimpey and Peabody to pay for work to remove cladding. We call on others to follow their example.


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