Andrew Parker Discusses Announcements from the Government Regarding Cladding Costs
Forsters' Head of Cladding, Andrew Parker, appeared on BBC Newsnight discussing what the Housing Minister Michael Gove meant when he stated earlier this week, on 10 January 2022, that he will be “absolutely willing to use legal rules” to make builders pay for the removal of unsafe cladding from buildings between 11-18 metres.
Question: Can Michael Gove actually make the house builders pay, from a legal perspective?
Andrew’s Response: "He hasn’t said how he is going to do it. The plan is to encourage the developers to contribute. If they don’t, there’s an imposition in law which will come their way, though he doesn’t explain what that is.
Developers can easily say in response to these plans that they were entitled to rely on their architects, engineers, and contractors, so if they are being asked to pay, they should be able to expect a contribution from those parties.
A legal issue the government faces is that if the developers are going to participate in this process, they need to feel that they can recover their losses from those parties. A lot of these buildings are of an age that means the time in which you can make a claim has expired. Unless there is a change in legislation to extend that period, developers won’t be able to pass their losses down to said parties and so will remain reluctant to participate."
Question: How concerned are you that this could end up as a legal battle between either the developers and those that they relied on, or developers and the government, before these necessary changes are made?
Response: "That is where the problem is. As things stand, legislation needs to be introduced for the government to be able to implement this and we all know that that isn’t going to happen particularly quickly.
Whilst I agree that the right noises are being made for these leaseholders, there is still a huge amount to work through, and if we’re not careful the lawyers are going to be the only ones that benefit."
To listen to the full Episode please click here. [Cladding interview from 34:35 – 39:54]
For impartial information on the cladding crisis please follow the cladding stream from the BBC News Website.