Principle Estate Management welcomes ‘next chapter’ in fire cladding story

The head of the UK’s fastest growing property management company has described the government’s proposed measures to tackle unsafe cladding as a “bit of a curate’s egg, good in parts”.

 

Brett Williams, managing director of Principle Estate Management, said that while an extra £3.5 billion was good news for leaseholders in high rise buildings above 18 meters, it left thousands in buildings between four and six storeys facing years of paying off loans.

 

“The £3.5 billion announced is to be added to the £1.6 billion pledged last year, giving a total of £5.1 billion, but it comes nearly four years after the Grenfell fire disaster that prompted these concerns,” he said.

 

The government has said leaseholders in buildings between four and six storeys will have to pay off a long term, low interest loan for rectification work, but would not be required to pay more than £50 per calendar month.

 

Brett Williams said: “Although £50 a month is likely to be less than they are currently paying for services such as a waking watch, these leaseholders find themselves required to pay to put right building defects that they did not cause.”

 

He added that these loans would likely be added to overall costs when negotiating the sale of a flat in buildings of four to six storeys.

 

But he welcomed proposals for a new industry levy and tax for developers which would see those working within the construction industry contributing towards historical defects.

 

“However, there is some concern that these developer overheads will be passed on to purchasers meaning that those flat owners will be paying for developer’s mistakes in other buildings.

 

“There will inevitably be those who criticise the government for not going far enough, but I think we should at least welcome what the government itself has described as an ‘exceptional intervention’ in a time when the public purse is under tremendous strain from the costs caused by the coronavirus pandemic,” he said.

 

In addition, the government is bringing forward the Building Safety Bill, the new Building Safety Regulator, a  National Register of Construction Products and has pledged to reduce the need for an EWS1 form in over 500,000 flats in buildings between 11m and 18m.

 

The EWS1 form was introduced in August last year as part of a new External Wall Fire Review process.

 

Brett Williams said: “I think we need to view these latest announcements as the next chapter on a longer journey towards addressing the remediation of cladding in high rise buildings and also to ensuring that a tragedy like the Grenfell fire cannot happen again.”

 

Leaseholders in high rise apartment buildings who would like an impartial discussion on the latest announcements can contact Brett Williams on bwilliams@principleestate.co.uk, or call 0121 289 4315.