Barratt, the housing developers, took a £56million hit on its profits to fix fire safety and structural problems in “legacy properties”, the bulk of which was spent in removing flammable cladding from their Citiscape block in Croydon.
The 95 flats in Citiscape, on Drummond Road and Frith Road in Old Town, were built by Barratt in 2002 and had the same aluminium composite material cladding as was used on Grenfell Tower.
The 2017 Grenfell Tower fire, which killed 72 people, exposed deficiencies in the building safety regime and the potential abuse of safety tests by companies supplying the cladding and insulation to those homes.
Earlier this week there was a debate in Parliament, in which Labour called for urgent protection for leaseholders from the costs of repairing potentially unsafe buildings, amid concerns that millions of people face expensive post-Grenfell improvements.
Labour want an independent task force on cladding to be established, with the power to take action against building owners who refused to carry out remedial work.
Mortgage lenders have refused to lend to buyers unless they can prove the property they want to buy is safe.
Barratt’s actions in Croydon, therefore, may also be used as a precedent for other developers to make safe buildings that have been constructed with deadly flammable materials.
Property expert Peter Bills, a former columnist for the Evening Standard and editor of Estates Gazette, tweeted this morning, “The block has been reclad and the concrete frame strengthened. Barratt pledged no costs will fall on leaseholders. Be good to see others doing the right thing.”
In the Barratt company report, they say of the £56.3million spend on “legacy properties”, “The largest component of charges in the period related to Citiscape and the associated review, announced in July 2020… Detailed reviews are ongoing and, in line with our commitment to put our customers first we will ensure that the costs associated with any remedial works from these reviews are not borne by leaseholders.”
It has been an extremely stressful period for the homeowners and families living in Citiscape. In September 2019, residents were evacuated from the building after “unrelated structural issues” were discovered while work to replace the cladding was underway.
Barratt took the decision to pay for remedial work on the reinforced concrete frame at Citiscape in July last year.
It also undertook a review of 26 other similar developments. In its half-year results, published today, Barratt say the review is “substantially complete” and that it has not identified any other buildings with issues as severe as those at Citiscape.
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