Developers have rolled out the government’s latest plan to tackle the cover crisis, which could land them with bills of up to £4billion.
Michael Gove, housing secretary, is looking for builders to save money on fixing fire safety issues across tens of thousands of properties in the UK. Developers will face the prospect of being sued if they don’t.
But the builders say they are being unfairly excluded and say others, including the building’s safety regulator and manufacturers of cladding materials, are also responsible.
“You can’t keep putting all the blame on developers,” said Matthew Pratt, chief executive officer of home-builder Redrow. “There is still too much ambiguity and we would very much like the government to clarify what is happening,” he added.
Ministers have struggled to contain a building safety crisis that has run high since 2017 fire at Grenfell Tower in west London, of which 72 died. After the tragedy, there was concern about several hundred tower blocks encased in the same combustible material used on Grenfell.
The crisis was widened in January 2020, when the government advised that any multi-storey, multi-occupant residential building should be assessed for fire risk, to include more than 800,000 tenants.
Lenders have refused to issue mortgages on potentially unsafe properties and, with a shortage of fire safety professionals to sign off on apartments, tens of thousands of people are being left stranded. stuck in homes they couldn’t sell. Many are facing costs running into the tens of thousands of pounds for temporary fire safety measures.
Robert Jenrick, who preceded Gove as housing secretary, has allocated £5bn to fix buildings over 18m and has suggested that landlords in properties between 11m and 18m high could get a loan to cover any necessary repairs to unsafe apartments. But Gove has made it clear that lessors should not incur the cost of dealing with fire safety issues.
“Landlords don’t have to pay for repairs to buildings and the proposed loan scheme has previously proven impractical,” said the Home Builders Federation, which represents developers, said.
However, developers have already spent hundreds of millions of dollars fixing properties and the government is adding £2 billion through targeted taxes on the industry over the next 10 years.
“While homebuilders are committed to playing their part, there are many other organizations involved in the construction of the affected buildings, including housing associations and local governments,” said HBF. direction.
“As well as developers and governments, other parties should be involved in the cost of repairs, especially material manufacturers that designed, tested, and sold materials that the developers purchased a part of. in good faith which was later found to be unfit for purpose,” it added.
Lessors have given Gove’s plans, which are expected to be announced on Monday, a cautious welcome.
“It would be nice if there was more money for 11m to 18m buildings but there are still people who can’t access any funding: buildings under 11m and all the fire safety issues no other cover without funding,” said the advocacy group End Our Cases Scandal.