Cladding

TAYLOR WIMPEY has put aside £125m to replace cladding and undertake other fire safety work on apartment buildings after ‘huge flaws’ had been ‘uncovered’ post Grenfell.

The Guardian reported on the announcement by Taylor Wimpey, ‘one of the UK’s biggest housebuilders’, that it has ‘set aside’ £125m to help leaseholders in blocks it has built ‘avoid […] receiving large bills for repairing cladding and other issues’. The company said that the fund would support fire safety work for leaseholders in blocks built in the last 20 years, including those below 18m, after ‘huge flaws were uncovered’ nationwide in building safety post Grenfell.

The company had initially put aside £40m to remove and replace aluminium composite material (ACM) cladding on high rises, and has completed work on 12 of 19 blocks ‘so far’, while it had also offered long term, low interest loans to leaseholders in smaller buildings, but was criticised by the Labour party for this, with the party calling the move an ‘injustice’.

For buildings owned by the developer, it will ‘fund and oversee’ fire safety work, ‘regardless of whether they are eligible for the government’s building safety fund’; and for buildings it no longer owns that are ‘not eligible’ for government funding, where a freeholder ‘produces a fair and proportionate plan’ for fire safety works, the company will ‘contribute funding’.

Pete Redfearn, the company’s chief executive, stated: ‘We have taken this decision in order to provide certainty for customers and leaseholders and to avoid them bearing the cost of investment to ensure their buildings are safe. Many leaseholders have been left with unreasonably large bills to ensure their properties are safe and in line with post-Grenfell fire safety standards.’

Last month, Barratt became the ‘first construction firm to call’ for a levy on developers to ‘bail out victims’ of the cladding crisis, and revealed it spent £56m on removing cladding from a London block. In January, London based landlord One Housing reported a pre tax loss of £8.6m due to ‘increased fire safety costs’ across its properties.

Read our article 'What is cladding?' here