Minister reaches agreement with developers over repairs to unsafe buildings in Wales
The Welsh Government minister responsible for Housing has announced agreement has been reached with developers to repair their building in Wales which have safety defects.
In May the Minister for Climate Change Julie James wrote to all developers in Wales inviting them to a meeting to discuss their plans and timetables to repair fire safety issues in the buildings they helped to build.
The invitation was initially sent to 47 developers, including those which had committed to the UK Government’s England-only building safety pledge in April.
Forty-one replied to the Minister and 27 confirmed they do not have any medium or high-rise buildings in Wales.
Following a meeting on 11 July, the remaining 13 developers agreed they would sign the Welsh Government’s Developer’s Pact, which commits them to fix all buildings they have developed of 11 metres and over in height, which have identified fire safety issues.
In a statement, the minister wrote: “ I am clear that developers should take responsibility for the remediation works but officials will hold regular assurance meetings to ensure they are delivering on their contractual obligations.
“I have made it clear that I do not expect leaseholders to bear the cost of repairing fire safety issues that are not of their making and that I expect developers to step up to their responsibilities.
“I want to commend all the developers who have made the commitment to do this.”
Six developers have yet to reply to the letter, Laing O’Rourke, Westmark, Robertson, London Square, Weston Homes and Kier (now Tilia).
Ms James called on them to respond and threatened action if the failed to comply:“For those not willing to work with the Welsh Government to rectify fire safety issues in their buildings, I am prepared to use all levers at my disposal to ensure that developers are brought to the table and that they commit to the remediation of their buildings where fire safety issues have been identified, or that they face consequences.
In April the UK Government secured a deal with thirty-five major property developers in England after they agreed to pay £5 billion towards fire safety remediation costs – after they were warned that those who did not sign up for the voluntary pledge could be banned from carrying out new construction projects.
The Scottish Government reached a similar agreement in May.
In the aftermath of the Grenfell fire, 12 private and three social sector high-rise (18m) residential buildings in Wales were found to have the same non-compliant aluminium composite material cladding (ACM) as the Grenfell tower.
Work to remove and replace non-compliant ACM cladding has been completed on the three social sector high-rise residential buildings and work has either started, or plans are in place to progress work on the 12 buildings in the private sector.
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