Jan 30, 2023
UK Gives Builders Six Weeks to Sign £2 Billion Cladding Pledge
(Bloomberg) -- Britain’s homebuilders have six weeks to sign a UK government contract that will commit them to repair unsafe cladding on apartment blocks — or face banishment from the housing market.
The pledge will commit firms to spend an estimated £2 billion ($2.5 billion) to fix tall buildings they developed or refurbished over the past 30 years, according to a government statement published Monday. Legislation will be brought forward in the spring to prevent developers from operating freely in the housing market if they fail to sign the contract.
The move will protect thousands of leaseholders across England, the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities said in the statement. These households would otherwise face costly repairs for serious safety faults, including non-cladding related issues.
“Too many developers, along with product manufacturers and freeholders, have profited from these unsafe buildings and have a moral duty to do the right thing and pay for their repair,” Levelling Up Secretary Michael Gove said in the statement. “There will be nowhere to hide for those who fail to step up to their responsibilities.”
The Grenfell tower fire, which claimed the lives of 72 people in 2017, exposed a raft of building safety failures affecting hundreds of apartment blocks around the UK. That sparked questions about who should pay to fix the issues, leaving thousands of homeowners unable to sell and trapped in unsafe properties. Six of the UK’s biggest lenders restarted loans for flats affected by the cladding crisis last month.
Together with the Building Safety Levy — another pledge to fix historic residential issues — the industry is now paying an estimated £5 billion to make their buildings safe. The new contract also requires developers to reimburse taxpayers where public money was used to fix unsafe buildings.
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