The UK government secretary for housing, Sajid Javid has announced that Barratt Developments has agreed to foot the bill for the removal and replacement of unsafe cladding at a Citiscape development under the Building Safety Programme launched last year following the tragic fire at Grenfell Tower.
The Building Safety Programme has been tasked with identifying other buildings with unsafe cladding. So far 306 buildings have been identified as having cladding that is unlikely to meet building regulations:
- 158 social housing buildings
- 134 private sector homes
- 14 public buildings
The Citiscape residential development in Croydon, managed by FirstPort property management firm, was deemed unsafe after its cladding failed combustibility tests last year. FirstPort launched an independent property tribunal case, which ruled that it could pass on the cost for work to the apartment leaseholders via the annual service charges, despite a call from Mr Javid to not pass on the cost of removal and replacement, which could amount to £2 million.
Barratt Developments stepped forward and is one of the first private firms to offer to cover the costs. A spokesperson for Barratt explained the move, ‘Following the recent ruling that the costs for necessary recladding at Citiscape will fall on the individual apartment owners, many of whom were originally Barratt customers when it was built in 2002, we have decided that we will pay for the work.’
Barratt Developments insist that Citiscape was build in line with building regulations at the time of construction, and do not own the building. The spokesperson continued, ‘While we don’t own the building or have any liability for the cladding, we are committed to putting our customers first. The important thing now is ensuring that owners and residents have peace of mind.’
Mr Javid applauded the decision taken by Barratt Developments to cover the fire safety works costs, as he made the announcement at a meeting of Citiscape residents. He said, ‘They [Barratt] have listened to the concerns of Citiscape residents, engaged with government and have done the right thing. Other building owners and housebuilders in the private sector should follow the example set by Barratt Developments to protect leaseholders from costs and begin essential fire safety works.’