L&Q announces completion of high-rise inspections and gives remediation update
L&Q has today provided an update on the progress of its programme to address building safety issues as it seeks to provide reassurance to thousands of residents affected by the cladding crisis.
L&Q confirmed that it has carried out over 350 building inspections as part of one of the UK’s largest building safety inspection programmes. This includes all of L&Q’s 192 high rise (over 18 metre) blocks. 49 blocks achieved satisfactory safety certification (an EWS1 form with a rating of B1 or better), but some level of remediation will be needed for at least 127 blocks, with work already underway on 28 of these. L&Q is analysing inspection outcomes or awaiting final inspection reports for the remaining buildings.
Where remediation is shown to be required under the current consolidated advice note, L&Q is taking all available steps to reclaim these costs from developers, insurers and from Government funding schemes where available.
The housing association has also today pledged to fully meet the costs of fire safety remediation in blocks built by its in-house construction arm, Quadrant Construction. This means that more than 1,100 leaseholders will not face any costs for remediation.
This is in addition to already protecting leaseholders from over £20m of costs for temporary fire measures, such as Waking Watch.
For other L&Q buildings in the programme, when all other avenues for recovery have been exhausted, and in the absence of further funding from Government, remediation costs will inevitably need to be recharged to leaseholders. This will take individual circumstances into account to ensure that leaseholders are not placed in financial difficulty. L&Q is calling for urgent policy direction from government in these cases, so we can provide clarity to our leaseholders.
Fiona Fletcher-Smith, L&Q Group Chief Executive, said:
“Many of our residents have told us that the building safety crisis has had a devastating impact on them, and we know that it has affected the mental health of thousands across the country.
“I’m proud of the work we’ve done to get so many buildings inspected, especially given the pandemic and national shortage of qualified inspectors, but we have much more to do for our residents.
“My priority is that every resident feels safe in their home, but we know that even working as fast as we can, our programme will take years to deliver.
“We firmly believe that it is not right that leaseholders should pay for any failings of developers or unfit building regulations. Where L&Q was the developer, we fully accept our responsibility to remediate at our own expense. However, as a charity providing homes for people on the lowest incomes, we should also not have to pay for remedial works on blocks that we didn’t build.
“Our hope is that further measures and funding will soon be announced by Government to support leaseholders and housing associations, and we will reflect this in our approach to charging if this is the case. In the meantime, we want to do everything possible to give L&Q residents certainty and peace of mind that we will do everything we can to protect them from charges for remediation works and, where we have no choice but to pass costs on, we will do so in a way that is as affordable, and fair, as possible.”
She added: “Government now have a real opportunity to end this crisis for the thousands of residents who are living with this every day. We welcome the recent comments by Michael Gove that the Consolidated Advice Note will be withdrawn and agree with the suggestion that this could be replaced with more proportionate guidance and an approach where safety is achieved through mitigation measures as opposed to slow and costly remediation works. We are now encouraging Government to accelerate these changes and introduce the funding and guidance needed to help keep residents safe and release thousands of mortgage prisoners.”
L&Q will be writing to leaseholders in homes built by Quadrant Construction to confirm this policy and how it will affect them this week.