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‘Unacceptable’: housing minister slams building owners holding up remediation

Building remediation Lee Rowley
Lee Rowley MP has warned building owners to step up on building remediation (Image: Parliament UK)

Housing minister Lee Rowley has admonished building owners who are not remediating unsafe residential blocks and warned they would “face the consequences for their inaction”.

“Of course, while many buildings are getting fixed or – better still – have completed remediation, there remains a reducing core of building owners who continue to hold up remediation,” Rowley said in Parliament on Tuesday (26 March). “This is unacceptable.”  

According to the latest government figures, 485 (98%) of high-rise buildings in England with Grenfell-type ACM cladding have either started or completed remediation works.

Of these, 433 buildings (87%) have completed ACM remediation, including those awaiting building control sign-off, and 11 are yet to start. Of those 11 buildings, one is vacant, eight have scheduled start dates, and the remaining two have had local authority enforcement action taken against them.

As of the end of February 2024, there were 4,092 residential buildings 11m and over in height identified with unsafe cladding whose remediation progression is being reported to the government.

Rowley told building owners to “step up [and] do the right thing and fix their buildings without delay” or face intervention by the government’s Recovery Strategy Unit, set up to target the worst cases of owners unwilling to remediate their buildings.

Enforcement action

The government recently took legal action to force Grey GR to fix building safety issues at one of its buildings in Birmingham and is taking enforcement action on six of the developer’s other buildings, with trials set to take place this year. 

Wallace Estates, another building owner that the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities said has consistently failed to fix building safety defects, has now accepted remediation orders brought by the government covering four buildings.

Rowley added: “Nine remediation contribution orders were taken out against three further organisations last week, including developers, to recover funds paid out by both taxpayers and leaseholders to fix these buildings. And we will continue to take action against those who do not step up to their responsibilities.”

Rowley announced a package of initiatives to boost enforcement, including £6m to council enforcement teams, development of a new regulatory protocol for greater consistency, and a new fund that government partners can access for legal support in complex cases.

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