The Home Builders Federation (HBF) has submitted what it describes as “reasonable and realistic” counter-proposals to the government’s plan to make developers pay for building safety remediation work.
The HBF sent a letter to Housing Secretary Michael Gove on Friday with proposals that include rehabilitating buildings dating from the year 2000 and removing the Building Safety Fund.
In exchange for these commitments, the HBF asks the government to “no longer challenge our members on these issues, except insofar as this is currently enshrined in law”.
It comes shortly after the government proposed changes to the upcoming Building Safety Act, which would change the law to make developers liable for fire safety costs before tenants.
The HBF has been engaged in negotiations with the government since Housing Secretary Michael Gove announced plans to make developers pay for resurfacing buildings between 11m and 18m.
Since then, the government has threatened uncooperative developers with a number of measures, including preventing those who do not pay from receiving the start of planning permission or building control approval for their projects.
In its latest letter, the HBF said its new proposals “go even further than their existing commitments to remediate legacy buildings”
The HBF made three major proposals. Firstly, its members will commit to addressing ‘critical’ fire safety issues on all their buildings over 11 metres, through what is described as a ‘proportionate and risk-based approach’ which will need to be agreed.
The remediation work will go back to the facilities built since January 2000, the members of HBF deeming this period “reasonable and realistic”.
Previous announcements had suggested it could affect buildings dating back up to 30 years after developers were asked to provide full information on all buildings over 11 meters with historical fire safety flaws they have constructed during this period.
Finally, HBF members will withdraw from the Building Security Fund (BSF), including for buildings
where they no longer retain any legal interest.
Where a building has already secured funding through the BSF, the HBF said it believes its members would be willing to reimburse the BSF for “reasonable” fire safety remediation costs.
The proposal is conditional on all components agreeing, as well as a public commitment from the government to no longer use HBF members.
However, a spokesperson for the Department of Leveling, Housing and Communities said the developers “have not gone far enough yet”.
“They need to work with us intensively in the coming weeks to agree on a fully funded plan to fix the unsafe buildings. We have been clear that if they don’t we will impose a solution,” the spokesperson added.
The HBF also wants a government commitment to engage more broadly with industry in the “widest sense”, as it said UK homebuilders cannot solve the crisis alone.
Stewart Baseley, HBF Executive Chairman, said: “We reaffirm our full support for the principle that tenants should not pay for fire protection work. Our proposal is a strong indication of the seriousness with which HBF members are taking this issue and goes well beyond their existing substantive commitments. We will continue to engage constructively with the government to find fair and proportionate solutions. »