Cladding clodhoppers

For the poor leaseholders trapped in apartment blocks with cladding that needs to be replaced selling their property is nigh on impossible. Ever since it became apparent following the Grenfell Tower fire in 2017 that ACP cladding was flammable the cost of replacing it has been a contentious issue, writes Zah Azeem, Partner at Wimbledon based Chartered Surveyors, Scrivener Tibbatts. 

Leaseholders buying a flat had every right to believe that what they were buying was safe. The property developers constructing the building believed the products they used met all the rigorous health and safety regulations. The manufacturers thought their products were safe too.

Except they weren’t.

So who should pay has been argued about for the past five years. The government has recently legislated that the burden of paying for building retrofits will currently be shouldered by house builders.

But the Home Builders Federation (HBF) which represents many of the UK’s best known housebuilders has complained that these developers are being made to pay when in fact they built fewer than 10% of the estimated 8,000 buildings that the Government estimates need repairing.

The HBF believes the bulk of the remaining 7,200 ‘orphan’ buildings that need remediation works were built by foreign companies or contractors.

Older buildings it claims were built largely by local authorities that later had cladding attached for aesthetic or thermal efficiency reasons.

Quoted here a spokesman for the HBF says: “Government must act to make other responsible parties pay their share and not take the easy option of targeting UK builders again for a problem they did not create.

“Saying ‘it’s too hard’ to get contributions from other parties is unacceptable and is an affront to UK businesses who employ hundreds of thousands and pay billions in UK taxes.

“We also believe that other parties, including cladding companies, foreign builders and their UK based contractors, building owners etc need to be part of the discussion.

“As Government begins to outline plans for a second new tax on UK house builders in addition to a self-remediation pledge for buildings above 11m it would be fair to consider pursuing other sectors, especially in light of evidence received by the Grenfell Tower Inquiry.

“If ministers are genuinely interested in the ‘polluter pays’ principle then that seems fair.”

He’s got a point.

If you would like to discuss something related to a property valuation please contact Zah direct via email at or call 020 8947 7040.