The Recovery Strategy Unit, which is a newly set up unit within the Department of Levelling Up, Housing and Communities (DLUHC), has initiated legal action against a freeholder for failure to remediate unsafe cladding on a 15-storey residential tower block. The freeholder now has just 21 days to rectify the fire safety defects or face an escalation by the DLUHC. A Remediation Contribution Order is also being considered against the freeholder’s associated entities, which is a new power under the Building Safety Act 2022 and would require the associated entities to contribute towards the remediation.
The property was registered with the Building Safety Fund back in 2020 but no funding agreement was executed. Due to this, government funding could not be released to cover the remediation costs. The DLUHC has noted that they are reviewing another 23 cases similar to this and considering next steps.
It is clear that there are significant repercussions if organisations fail to comply with the new building safety regime. These repercussions can not only be felt by the contractor who carried out the unsafe works, but developers and associated companies.
Given the significant powers under the Building Safety Act 2022 have only been in place for a short period of time, it is likely more actions will be taken against developers to remediate unsafe cladding. It is becoming increasingly important for all parties involved in construction, including developers, contractors and their group companies, to understand the obligations placed upon them under the new building safety regime.
This legal action should act as a warning to the rest of industry’s outliers - big and small. Step up, follow your peers and make safe the buildings you own or legal action will be taken against you.