Today, the second anniversary of the Grenfell disaster, we remember the victims and their families.
The recent fire at Barking East London which destroyed at least 20 flats draws renewed attention post Grenfell to issues of design and construction in both new and old buildings. Fortunately, there have been no fatalities. The construction and design issues appear to relate to the wooden balconies which will require investigation.
In the aftermath of Grenfell there has been growing pressure from Local Authorities and enforcement measures taken by Fire Authorities on owners of large builds to ensure fire hazards attributable to inappropriate external cladding are addressed.
Owners of defective builds including directors of companies may face prosecution in the event of non-compliance with enforcement notices and worse still, in the event of fatalities may face prosecution for corporate manslaughter.
Theresa May, in a press release, talked about a number of private building owners doing the right thing and taking responsibility, but unfortunately too many are continuing to pass on the cost of removal and replacement to leaseholders. The Government has committed to spending £200 million to fund and accelerate cladding replacement but the funding does not appear to apply to all hazardous buildings and there is a condition that appropriate action is taken against those responsible for the unsafe cladding.
Whilst First Tier Tribunal and court proceedings are already under way, it is inevitable that litigation will increase. Hopefully, owners and developers will do the ‘right thing’ and take responsibility and ideally try to resolve issues amicably and without resorting to litigation and most importantly in the interests of saving lives.
If you are an owner or a developer of a large build that could be a fire hazard and would like further information on the correct procedures to make your building safe, please do not hesitate to Call Us on 0800 042 0700, or email us on firstname.lastname@example.orgFind out more about our Dispute Resolution team