Michael Gove “disappointed” by cladding pledge from housebuilders



Housebuilders have been told to go further in remediating tall buildings affected by dangerous cladding by housing secretary Michael Gove.

The Home Builders Federation (HBF) previously offered to pay for “critical” fire safety remediation costs on developments taller than 11 metres constructed after the year 2000.

As a compromise members’ blocks would have been removed from the Building Safety Fund.

But Gove responded, in a letter to the HBF: “I am disappointed to see you have not proposed a funding solution to cover the full outstanding cost to remediate unsafe cladding on buildings 11-18 metres.

“I will therefore ask you to continue to work intensively with my officials in the coming weeks to agree a fully funded plan to fix unsafe buildings by the end of March. As part of this process, I expect developers to make public commitments.”

Builders have been given until the end of this month to come up with a solution, with Gove delaying the ultimatum date to give them time to strike a deal.

If an agreement isn’t struck by then legislation will force builders to sort out these properties via the Building Safety Bill, which is currently going through parliament.

The HBF has been locked in negotiations with the government since January, with Stewart Baseley, chair of the Home Builders Federation, setting out the suggested offer in a letter to the housing secretary just over a week ago.

The HBF asked for assurances that its members won’t be expected to address these issues again if a deal is struck.

The HBF has made three major proposals:

+ Its members will resolve “critical” fire safety concerns on all their buildings that are taller than 11 metres, through what is described as “a proportionate and risk-based approach”, although it is unclear what that would look like.

+ Remediation works will date back to developments built since January 2000.

+ HBF members will withdraw from the BSF, including for buildings where they no longer retain a legal interest.

Letter from Michael Gove to the HBF on proposals to pay for building safety:

Dear Stewart [Baseley]

GOVERNMENT RESPONSE TO INDUSTRY PROPOSAL ON BUILDING SAFETY

Thank you for your letter of 25 February, in which you set out how your members could go
further to remediate unsafe buildings whilst protecting leaseholders from these costs. I am
grateful for the work you have done with your members and the wider sector to develop these
proposals.

I welcome the commitment that developers will fund the remediation of fire safety defects in
buildings they had a role in developing above 11 metres, without drawing on the Building Safety
Fund, and will make refunds to in respect of buildings for which awards have already been
made. Your current proposal however falls short of full and unconditional self-remediation that I and leaseholders will expect us to agree. I expect all developers to emulate the most responsible firms and commit to full self-remediation of unsafe buildings without added
conditions or qualifications. I would therefore ask you to continue working with my officials to
develop these proposals further.

I share your desire to ensure proportionality is instilled throughout the sector, which is why I
have withdrawn the Consolidated Advice Note and supported the development of PAS 9980.
The Government will continue to work with lenders, insurers, RICS and others to ensure
proportionality is embedded across the system. I am disappointed to see you have not
proposed a funding solution to cover the full outstanding cost to remediate unsafe cladding on
buildings 11-18m. I will therefore ask you to continue to work intensively with my officials in the
coming weeks to agree a fully funded plan to fix unsafe buildings by the end of March.

As part of this process, I expect developers to make public commitments. If an agreement is
not reached by the end of March, I have been clear that government will impose a solution in
law and have taken powers to impose this solution through the Building Safety Bill. Finally, we
agree on the importance of an industry-wide approach to building safety and continue our
negotiation with construction product manufacturers.

I look forward to working with you over the coming weeks to deliver a just deal for leaseholders.
We will be convening another industry roundtable at the end of March to conclude discussions.

With every good wish,

Rt Hon Michael Gove MP

Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities and Minister for Intergovernmental Relations

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