New housing secretary Greg Clark has sent out formal contracts to finalise pledges by major housebuilders to help remediate and fund work to solve the UK’s cladding crisis.
Clark said that contracts had gone out to major housebuilders with a deadline to sign them in four weeks.
It follows major reforms to building safety laws last month as part of the Building Safety Act, which sees leaseholders protected from costs to make their homes safe, and a pledge from 45 companies to carry out fire safety remediation work on their own buildings at an estimated cost of £2bn.
Clark said: “Progress has been made, though it has taken too long. Nevertheless, it is now becoming irreversible. The Building Safety Act came into force last month – the biggest reform to building safety in a generation. Leaseholders are now protected in law from unfair bills to make their homes safe, and a rigorous regulatory regime will bring order to decades of lax practice.
“My predecessor, Michael Gove, was absolutely right in his drive to ensure that companies should fix the buildings they played a part in constructing. A landmark agreement has seen a majority of the UK’s major housebuilders pledge an estimated £2 billion to this end. That pledge was given to the house building industry in March and there have since been over 45 signatories. I welcome the proactive approach taken by those developers like Barratt that have gone beyond the commitments in the pledge.
“But it is time these commitments are put into force.”
Given that the taxpayer is contributing £5bn towards fixing those buildings which have been left orphaned by absentee developers, Clark says the industry must pay its share too.
The levy will be raised against all qualifying projects in England, and companies and firms who headquarter themselves overseas will pay it, as well as home-grown developers. Ensuring that this funding is available to all affected buildings is essential to re-building confidence in the sector, according to Clark.
The approach to industry contributions and leaseholder protection has the strong and unambiguous support of all parties in parliament.