blank
Connect with us

Construction

Developers sign up to pact on addressing tall building fire safety concerns – but ‘significant gaps’ remain critics claim

Published

on

Major housing developers in Wales have signed up to a Welsh Government pact to address fire safety concerns on tall buildings in the wake of the Grenfell Tower disaster and subsequent cladding crisis.

Following meetings between Welsh Government and developers, Climate Change Minister Julie James MS provided a number of key updates which included progress on the Welsh Government’s Developers Pact – a pledge designed for companies to confirm their intention to address fire safety issues in buildings of 11 metres and over in height that they have developed over the last 30 years.

Advertisement

The Minister confirmed major developers have signed up to the pact and, in some cases, remediation work has started.

Developers who have signed the pact are Persimmon, Taylor Wimpey, Lovell, McCarthy and Stone, Countryside, Vistry, Redrow, Crest Nicholson and Barratt.

The Minister said: “I have always made it clear that I do not expect leaseholders to bear the cost of repairing fire safety issues that are not of their making and that I expect developers to step up to their responsibilities.

“I am very pleased that following our roundtable meeting in July a number of major developers have acknowledged their responsibility by signing up to the Welsh Government’s Developers Pact.

“I met with these developers yesterday to confirm next steps, and their plans and timescales for remediation.

Advertisement

“I wish to commend them for their engagement to date and look forward to a productive relationship in the future.

“In some cases, developers have started their remediation works, and are making the repairs necessary and I look forward to this work continuing at pace.”

The Minister also provided key updates on vital survey work carried out through the Welsh Building Safety Fund, reforming the current legislative system, the Leaseholder Support Scheme and on reimbursing those who have already paid for survey work. 

The Minister added: “I have been made aware that in a number of cases, survey work was undertaken prior to the launch of the Welsh Building Safety Fund, funded by residents, building owners or managing agents.

“Where this has happened, and subject to certain eligibility criteria being met, I can confirm that surveys costs will be reimbursed by Welsh Government.

Advertisement

“While it is right that developers take responsibility for defects that they are accountable, building owners and Managing Agents also have accountabilities when it comes to ensuring the safety of buildings and it is important that effective maintenance programmes are in place. 

“I would encourage all residents to assure themselves that maintenance on their buildings is being carried out in accordance with their lease agreements.”

The Welsh Liberal Democrats have welcomed the progress in building safety following the Welsh Governments announcement, but warned significant gaps remain and three major developers were yet to engage with the process.

Jane Dodds MS, the Welsh Liberal Democrat leader claimed that as the Welsh Government’s has failed to work with the UK Government on the Building Safety Act, they are left with little to no options to deal with the property developers who have refused to come to the table and sign up to the agreement –  meaning that it could be another three years until the equivalent legislation comes into effect.

It is also not clear from the Welsh Government’s announcement whether they intend to adopt the UK Government Building Safety Act in full or move ahead with their own act.

Advertisement

Jane Dodds MS said:“I am of course glad to finally see some movement from Labour on this issue. I particularly welcome that the Welsh Government has listened to the Liberal Democrats calls to name and shame the property developers for not agreeing to carry out remediation work and to reimburse survey work carried out by leaseholders which is something we had really been pushing for.

“However there remain a number of significant gaps in the announcement today. Due to the lack of legislation in Wales, those homeowners in properties that were built by property developers refusing to engage with the process are effectively being asked to sit tight and wait after 5 years of already doing just that. 

“As an interim measure, we would like to see the three developers refusing to engage barred from any work contracted by the Welsh Government or local authorities in Wales.

“We also don’t have an answer to what will be done about all the money victims have had to spend on waking watches, extortionate service charges and in many cases court cases against developers over the last few years while the Welsh Government failed to act. We want to see this reimbursed.

“Overall communication from the Welsh Government to the victims continues to be extremely poor. Victims and managing agents have spent the morning finding out by drip feed from the Welsh Government press releases rather than the Welsh Government engaging with them directly. This has been a feature throughout the ordeal, with the Welsh Government not engaging directly with victims or including them in discussions about resolutions.

Advertisement

“I and the Welsh Liberal Democrats are committed to securing the answers to the questions left by today’s announcement and will keep holding Labour to account to ensure victims of this scandal receive the justice they deserve.”

Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement

Trending

Copyright © 2023 Swansea Bay News