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Comment: We cannot allow a pathological aversion to “red tape” to endanger more lives

New proposals go some way to helping trapped leaseholders but say nothing of the future of building in the UK

PA
By
Prudence IveyEditor, Homes & Property
@PrudenceIvey
12 January 2022
A

breakthrough, of sorts, in the cladding crisis feels like a positive start to 2022.

Housing Secretary Michael Gove’s promise that no leaseholder in a building above 11 metres (around four to six storeys) will “ever face any costs for fixing dangerous cladding” is progress at last towards shifting the terrible financial burden of this four-and-a-half-year-old scandal off leaseholders.

Inevitably there are large gaps in the new plans; myriad fire safety issues now found to blight buildings beyond the original ACM cladding found at Grenfell have yet to be addressed and strange loopholes around things such as balconies and windows must be dealt with.

But as a statement of intent it’s a step in the right direction towards rectifying the mistakes of the past.

However, many developers behind buildings that have now been found to have safety issues followed the building regulations to the letter.

And yet no changes are being proposed to government guidance to ensure that all new homes are built safely.

Without this, and a properly independent body to enforce rules, architects, developers, insurers and mortgage lenders must take their chances on the limited, optional guidance available.

We cannot allow the government’s pathological aversion to “red tape” to endanger more lives.