Gove calls on cladding and insulation firms to help pay for remediation

Michael Gove (Dreamstime/Kubajunek)

Housing secretary Michael Gove has written to the Construction Products Association (CPA), calling on cladding and insulation manufacturers to make a contribution to the cost of cladding remediation.

In the letter to CPA chief executive Peter Caplehorn, Gove said it was “unjust” for leaseholders to pay to have cladding products removed from their buildings “they had no reason to suspect were dangerous”.

Gove said: “The range of past practices in the industry – across its approach to manufacturing, marketing and testing – has rightly been a source of huge concern to Parliament and the public. Without prejudicing the results of the Grenfell Inquiry, there is no doubt that the documentary evidence that has been published relating to the culture and practices of major cladding and insulation manufacturers has been extremely alarming.”

Gove said that a number of cladding and insulation companies had produced products that led to the need to remediate buildings of 11m or more in height.

He said: “I am offering a window of opportunity, between now and March, for the sector to work with my department through open and transparent negotiations to agree a settlement that will restore confidence and secure an appropriate contribution from the sector.”

Gove said a deal would include a commitment from the sector to make contributions this year and in subsequent years as well as a commitment to provide information on all buildings above 11m which have historic safety defects to which the companies have supplied products or services.

He added: “The total contribution from the cladding and insulation sector must represent a significant portion of the total remediation costs, caused by the dangerous products sold by some of your members. The current estimated cost to remediate unsafe cladding on 11m-18m and over 18m buildings is £4bn to £5.1bn respectively.”

A meeting with the CPA to open discussions would be scheduled “shortly”, said Gove.

In a statement, the CPA said: "We received a letter over the weekend from the Rt Hon Michael Gove MP, secretary of state at the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities to ‘set out the contribution that cladding and insulation manufacturers will need to make to fixing the crisis’ involving leaseholders and cladding remediation.

"This letter follows similar correspondence and meetings with representatives of the housebuilding sector, as well as statements the minister made in the House of Commons.

"We have had the benefit of several meetings with the minister’s Residents Voice and the Building Safety Levy team over the past weeks, that have helped them understand the complexity of the issues and market participants involved. That team has nonetheless made clear the minister’s ambitions and has requested our cooperation in planning a meeting with him and some relevant construction product manufacturers to discuss the matter further. We have asked for a separate meeting to clarify the details behind the government’s proposals.

"With all this in mind we are happy to work with government and our members in the spirit of cooperation to address these issues."

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  1. No doubt the response will be: our products are tested and safe at the point of sale, if architects do not specify with the appropriate design recommendations and the installers do not install as the design recommendations then we cannot be held responsible.

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