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Managing Editor, IFSEC Insider

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James Moore is the Managing Editor of IFSEC Insider, the leading online publication for security and fire news in the industry. James writes, commissions, edits and produces content for IFSEC Insider, including articles, breaking news stories and exclusive industry reports. He liaises and speaks with leading industry figures, vendors and associations to ensure security and fire professionals remain abreast of all the latest developments in the sector.
October 25, 2023

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All large developers deemed in scope have now signed government’s remediation contract

All of the country’s largest housebuilders deemed to be within scope have now committed to and signed the developer remediation contract, committing them to fixing unsafe buildings they developed or refurbished.

39 developers had initially signed up when Secretary of State for the Department of Levelling Up, Housing & Communities (DLUHC), Michael Gove, made the announcement on Monday 14 March.

Between April and July, another 10 signed, taking the total to 49 – only Abbey Developments and Rydon Homes had not signed.

On 18 September, Rydon Homes added its signature to the list. Prior to this, it had been raised by several commentators on social media that Rydon was a key contractor for the refurbishment of Grenfell Tower, which took place from 2014.

Rydon Homes had argued that it believed it fell under the category of a “small SME-housebuilder”, developing “an average of 16 homes per year”, and that it would engage with the process when “DLUHC wishes to extend the contractual scheme to all SME developers”. The company reportedly turned over £19.2 million in its most recent accounts.

Abbey Developments finally signed the pledge on 24 October.

‘A major step towards ending the building safety crisis’

The Government believes this constitutes a ‘major step toward ending the building safety crisis, providing relief for the thousands of leaseholders and tenants whose homes are covered by the contract’.

The legally binding document commits signatories to fix unsafe buildings they developed or refurbished. The agreements are expected to raise at least £2 billion for the remediation costs.

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Michael Gove, Secretary of State, DLUHC

Gove first announced his intentions to ensure developers paid for remediation costs in January 2022.

A year later on 30 January 2023, Gove gave developers a hard deadline of six weeks to sign the agreement, warning that companies who failed to sign may face restrictions on operating freely in the housing market.

A list of developers who have signed the contract can be found on the gov.uk website.

“To those developers that have failed to sign… we are coming for you”

Following the contract deadline passing back in March 2023, Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, Michael Gove, issued a warning:

“I have been clear all along – those that are responsible for this crisis must pay. So, I am grateful to those developers who have done the right thing today by signing this legally binding contract.

“We will be monitoring their progress on remediation very closely, to ensure this work is completed urgently and safely. For those developers that have taken responsibility, today offers the chance for a reset, so we can get on and build more of the safe, decent and affordable homes we so desperately need.

“To those developers that have failed to sign the contract without good reason, let me be very clear – we are coming after you. If you do not sign, you will not be able to operate freely in the housing market. Your investors will see that your business model is broken – only responsible developers are welcome here.

“But today should not be about developers, or about government. Today is about innocent leaseholders. I want to put on record my apology to all leaseholders for the years of misery and hardship you have endured. You should never have been ignored, asked to pay and let down.

“Today marks a turning point – and an important step towards resolving this crisis. There is so much more to do, but I will always act to protect leaseholders and end this injustice.”

What will signatories be required to do? Responsible Actors Scheme and enforcement

Signatories are required to fix all life-critical fire-safety defects in all English buildings over 11 metres they had a role in developing or refurbishing.

It also requires them to reimburse the taxpayer where government funds have already paid for remediation, with that money being used to make other buildings safe.

For developers who have signed, their obligations start immediately. Leaseholders will benefit from a common framework of rights and responsibilities that will get their buildings fixed without them having to pay, and developers will be required to inform residents in affected buildings how they will be meeting these commitments.

In July, the Government launched the Responsible Actors Scheme, which only those who have signed the Developers Remediation Contract are eligible for. Members of the scheme must:

  • identify residential buildings that are over 11 metres in height in England that they developed or refurbished over the 30 years ending on 4 April 2022, and any of those buildings known to have life-critical fire safety defects
  • remediate and/or mitigate, or pay for the remediation/mitigation of, life-critical fire safety defects in those buildings; and
  • reimburse government schemes for taxpayer-funded work to remediate and/or mitigate defects in those buildings, thereby assisting government to be able to pay for and implement remediation schemes designed to make buildings safe

Should a member of the scheme fail to comply with the membership conditions, their membership may be revoked.

For those who are not members of the scheme, regulations are in place that will prohibit them from carrying out major development works in England. This includes providing 10 or more residential units, residential schemes on a site at least 0.5 hectares in size, commercial development creating at least 1,000 square metres of floorspace, and development on a site over 1 hectare in size.

Those found to be in breach of a prohibition will constitute a breach of planning control.

Full information about the Responsible Actors Scheme can be found here.

The full developer remediation contract can be found here.


This article was first published on 14 March 2023. It has since been edited to reflect ongoing updates to the story. 

 

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