Speaking at the House of Commons this afternoon, housing minister Christopher Pincher said there was not enough time to redraft the bill to both stop leaseholders from footing the bill and address concerns with the existing amendment.
In a debate last month, he described the proposal as “unworkable and impractical,” claiming that building owners could use litigation to claim for costs which would delay construction.
Today, he said the amendment did not make it clear who would bear responsibility for costs, because there was no existing legislation to cross-reference.
Pincher (pictured) said: “The amendment would prevent the passing on of remediation costs, but it does not define what those costs are. That is a recipe for litigation and a recipe for delay.
“There is a lack of clarity on the definition of remedial work and what may be attributable to the provisions in this Bill, in other Acts or in none.”
Yesterday, the Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government (MHCLG) announced it had commissioned the British Standards Institution (BSI) to draft a code of practice for assessing external cladding.
MHCLG said this would give building owners clarity on the risk of materials used. The code is expected to be finalised later this year.
Pincher referenced the code: “I find it somewhat ironic that members are flagging these issues in the context of trying to impede the progress of the Bill, because having an up-to-date fire and risk assessment, which considers the external wall system of a building, should enable an insurer to take an informed and proportionate approach to risk, that considers not only the material and construction of the building, but the way in which it is managed.”