LUHC Select Committee publishes Building Safety Remediation and Funding Report.
LUHC Select Committee publishes Building Safety Remediation and Funding Report, includes proposals to protect leaseholders, cover costs to all buildings of any height and for non-cladding works, and to compensate for already paid-for remediation.
The Select Committee that scrutinises the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities (LUHC, formerly MCHLG) has published a striking new report on the Department’s response to the building safety crisis.
The report looks closely at recent developments, particularly the statements by Michael Gove MP, the Secretary of State in charge of LUHC, to Parliament where he stated that the Government would protect leaseholders from the costs of remediation and force industry to pay for any remaining faults.
Mr Gove’s statements received significant exposure in the media and across the national conversation on building and fire safety. Issues such as buildings below 11m or non-cladding (ie, wooden balconies) costs being excluded were identified and the report seeks to close those gaps in the Department’s response.
The report states that “it has always been [the] Committee’s position that leaseholders should not pay a penny to rectify faults not of their doing” and proposes the following steps to ensure this;
1. The Government should scrap the cap on non-cladding costs for leaseholders.2. The Government should implement [the] previously recommended Comprehensive Building Safety Fund, [which] should cover the costs of remediating all building safety defects on buildings of any height where the original “polluter(s)” cannot be traced.
The report goes further and demands that Government “should identify all relevant parties who played a role in the building safety crisis, such as product suppliers, installers, contractors, and subcontractors” and “should legally require them, as it has done for developers, to (i) contribute payment to put right any individual faults in which they played a part and (ii) contribute to collective funding for building safety remediation”.
Most radically, though, is the proposal that while Mr Gove’s stated aim of protecting leaseholders from future remediation costs is correct, those that have already been hit with costs should not fall through the gaps. Specifically, the report states that “industry players must compensate leaseholders for remediation and interim costs already paid out and must pay for works that have been started or specified”.
The report makes for very interesting reading. Mr Gove has already given
industry a deadline of the end of March to make their own proposals for
meeting his existing demands. Veiled and overt threats have been made
to instigate new legislation to force their hands if they do not.
There has been significant pushback from developers and construction materials manufacturers so far and it remains unclear on how this will play out at the end of the month. If the proposals made in the Select Committee report are rolled into the discussions, there must surely be an expectation of fireworks.
More information can be found here: https://committees.parliament.uk/event/7144/formal-meeting-oral-evidence-session/
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