The Fire Sector Federation calls upon the UK government to help release leaseholders from living in danger.
The Official Opposition debate on 1st February 2021 highlighted the plight of the sleepless nights of the many leaseholders caught in a dreadful limbo of living in unsafe homes unable to meet the costs of making their homes safe by replacing combustible cladding found in the aftermath of the Grenfell Tower fire.
Leaseholders, because of their responsibility as homeowners, find it is they who have to fund the costs of remediation to their homes, costs that they cannot meet.
Although the circumstances of how exactly this happened are still being investigated this suffering must cease. Leaseholders are dealing with an outcome they didn’t create or even know existed.
The reasons for what is a building control failure are many: from the thoroughness of material testing to the appropriateness of building regulations with possible defective construction and ineffective building control oversight compounding these failures.
As a result buildings sold as ‘fit for purpose’ are simply found wanting after the whole chain of safety net provisions didn’t work. So where do these leaseholders go so that they can at least sleep safe and retain value in their investment – their home?
Michael Harper, Chairman of the Fire Sector Federation, said
“We recognise that lives are continuing to be blighted by this continuing saga and it must end. The solution has to come through government intervention because the scale of the cost and complexity of accountability mean only government can make that happen. That said those who created this situation cannot and must not escape their responsibility.
“The Fire Sector Federation suggests that:
- Government increases the remediation fund and allows leaseholders to apply for government secured funding to meet remediation costs
- A government led industry group to set deadlines and drive progress to ensure that those deadlines are met as soon as possible
- The government recover from all appropriate parties their shared obligation for the cost of the remediation fund
“We note one construction company has already stepped forward to offer financial support and we encourage others. This is however a failure of many, some of who may need more than a little encouragement to step up and answer the call”
The Federation has been working to address and improve issues that affect fire safety where it can either directly through its own members or by collaborating with other partners including government. Raising levels of competency, revising standards and promoting the value of third-party certification and assurance are all parts of this ongoing essential task.