The deadline for developers to sign the Building Safety Contract has now passed, and despite Government threats to block from the market those who don’t comply, only 11 developers are confirmed to have formally signed up to fix their unsafe buildings. This result will certainly be disappointing to Michael Gove, given that 49 developers signed a pledge in August 2022, committing to carry out critical safety works and to reimburse taxpayers.
developers who have signed confirmed the contract does not materially impact the funding to which, last year, they had pledged to contribute; those who have not signed are currently safe from the threatened Government action until further legislation is enacted, so the question for many will be - does this latest development add anything, or has this entire debacle created even more delays under the guise of the Government taking action?
Leaseholders in unsafe buildings will be acutely aware of the effects of the building safety crisis. They are the ones trapped in unsellable flats all whilst their service charges and insurance premiums are rising dramatically against the backdrop of a cost of living crisis, existing applications for government funding are being cancelled for the prospect of third party funding, and the cost of remediation works is only set to increase as a result of the effects of the supply issues caused by the war in Ukraine. The actual cost of these latest delays will be significant.
What this means for those living in buildings built by developers who have not signed the contract is even more unclear.
Jessica Stanway, specialist Property Litigation with JMW Solicitors LLP said: “It is worth bearing in mind that these aggressive Government tactics could result in drawn out legal challenges or even result in the government policy facing a judicial review creating even further delays to works being carried out. We are seeing a number of developers considering their position and the legality of these threats and this is clearly reflected by the number of developers who did not sign the contract.”
It will be six years this year since the tragic Grenfell incident and there are still a significant number of buildings which require remediation works. Although it appeared progress was being made with the introduction of the Building Safety Act 2022, this latest attempt to negotiate with and threaten developers has only caused further delays and uncertainty. It is time that we got on with doing the works.