Nor will Abbey Developments, Avant, Ballymore, Dandara, Emerson Group (Jones Homes), Inland Homes, London Square, Rydon Homes and Telford Homes
Housing secretary Michael Gove yesterday named 11 housebuilders who are refusing to pay up to remediate building safety defects in the apartment blocks they built, including bolshy Irish developer Galliard and the Aussie-based Lendlease.
Both were quick on the draw to ensure leaseholders were on the hook to pay building safety bills at the start of the post-Grenfell building safety crisis.
Mr Gove said: “This Parliament has always been clear that those with ultimate responsibility for those buildings should bear the cost of remediation. Innocent leaseholders, who are neither responsible for safety defects nor equipped with the resources to fix the problem, should not be on the hook. Those who are responsible must pay …
“Those developers who have been invited to sign the remediation contract, but who have not agreed to live up to their responsibilities, will not be eligible to join the responsible actors scheme. They will not be able to commence new developments in England or receive building control approval for work already under way.”
By signing the contracts housebuilders had committed to fixing 1,100 buildings at a cost of £2 billion.
But Mr Gove added: “I am concerned that some companies do not appreciate the grave nature of the responsibility they bear. I hope the directors of those firms will now exercise the same level of responsibility as the leaders of the building industry. The reluctance so far of some companies to sign up only underlines the need for the responsible actors scheme. It will ensure that there are consequences for developers who wish to be, at the moment, neither answerable nor accountable.”
The developers who have agreed to remediate buildings will be updating leaseholders every quarter on progress, Mr Gove said in response to a question from Sir Peter Bottomley.
Insight 15.03.23 10.00 AM by Peter Apps and Ella Jessel Yesterday, housing secretary Michael Gove said 11 house builders face a ban on their operations “unless and until” they sign building safety contracts to fix fire safety defects at properties they have built.
In response to Clive Betts, chair of the Communities Select Committee who raised the issue of housing association with Kate Henderson, of the National Housing Federation, saying her members needed £6 billion to remediate their buildings, Mr Gove said:
“I have been in conversations with the Chancellor of the Exchequer about what more we can do to support the social housing sector. How richly those conversations bear fruit, we will have to see.”
Hilary Benn, the Labour MP for Leeds Central, raised the issue of sites under 11 meters, which are not covered by the government scheme and where many developers have long since disappeared.
Mr Gove said: “We need to look proportionately at each building, and that takes time … and if constituency cases and examples have come to light that … are not captured by the steps we have taken so far, I look forward to working … to address them.”
Tom Hunt, the Conservative MP for Ipswich, raised the issue of Cardinal Lofts, one of the sites owned by Railpen, which was evacuated of residents on Monday afternoon.
“The extent to which their lives has been affected is unacceptable. He will also know that Railpen was aware of these issues for two years before it decided to take any action at all.”
Mr Gove replied: “It is the pension fund for those who work in the rail sector. There are good trade unionists on the board of that pension fund to whom I appeal to show the same degree of energy in helping working people as my hon. Friend. While pension funds of course have fiduciary responsibilities and all the rest of it, it is vital that we do right by the residents of this building.”