To date, 48 developers have signed the Government’s ‘pledge’ by which the developers committed to remediate life-critical fire-safety works in buildings over 11 meters. Yesterday, the Government published a draft of the contract (the “Contract”) which it expects “large developers” to sign to formalise the developers’ commitments.
Reflecting the obligations contained in the pledge, the Contract requires the Participant Developer, at its cost, to undertake or procure all work required to remediate and/or fully mitigate all ‘Defects’ in applicable buildings, with the definition of Defects including (but expressly not limited to) structural fire safety deficiencies, absence of communal fire detection and alarm systems, and inadequate levels of compartmentation between floors, flats and common escape routes.
For those buildings which are currently seeking funding from the Building Safety Fund and/or ACM Cladding Remediation Funds, the Contract enables the Government to ‘transfer’ such buildings to the relevant Participant Developer for it to carry out the required Works, save where a funding agreement has already been signed in respect of a building.
Where works are to be undertaken, the Participant Developer is to enter into a written contract with the relevant Responsible Entity (i.e. building owner, resident management company, etc.) and the Contract contains provision for assessment of the works by the Government following practical completion.
As for timeframes, each Contract is to include target dates by which the Participant Developer is required to identify and assess buildings and thereafter, undertake any works. Failure to commence and/or complete works by the relevant target date provides the Government the right to terminate the Contract, although what immediate recourse building owners/leaseholders impacted by such failures and left with partially completed works might have remains unclear.
The Contract is still to be fully digested, refined and finalised. Thus, it is expected that amendments will be made to address queries – for example, will applicants of the Building Safety Fund and/or ACM Cladding Remediation Funds have any say as to whether their original developer undertakes the remediation works, or can building owners/leaseholders insist instead on simply requiring payment for such works by the Participant Developer? In the meantime, the Government is seeking to finalise the terms of the Contract through engagement with industry, leaseholders and other parties by 10 August 2022.
Should you have any questions on the Contract, how this will impact the remediation of your building, or require assistance with cladding issues, please contact Brenna Baye or any member of the Edwin Coe Cladding team.
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