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Developers who fail to fix buildings will face building control and planning prohibitions

  • 27/03/2023
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Developers who fail to fix buildings will face building control and planning prohibitions
Developers who fail to comply with remediation contracts will be prevented from carrying out major developments or will be prevented from getting building control sign-offs, with regulation expected to come into force by early summer.

The Department of Levelling Up’s Secretary of State Michael Gove (pictured) outlined the key features of the Responsible Actor’s Scheme.

He said the scheme would initially focus on larger residential property developers and developers of multiple tall residential buildings known to have “life-critical fire safety defects”.

He continued that over time he wanted to expand the scheme to cover more of those who developed unsafe buildings over 11 metres and “should pay to the scheme”.

“The regulations will recognise the positive action of responsible developers and will make sure that eligible developers who do not sign and comply with the contract will be unable to be members of the scheme, and therefore be subject to prohibitions.

“I will lay regulations that will, with Parliament’s consent, bring the scheme into operation before the Summer Recess,” Gove added.

The scheme aims to get members to identify buildings developed or refurbished over 11 metres built in the last 30 years, including those with life-critical fire safety defects, remediate or mitigate buildings with defects and reimburse government for taxpayer-funded work.

Members of the scheme also need to comply with information requests from the Department of Levelling Up so progress can be monitored.

Additional conditions such as “fit and proper person test” to directors and senior managers may be imposed in due course.


‘The Responsible Actors Scheme is coming’

Developers must meet one or more of the three eligibility criteria to be subject to the scheme.

The first group of criteria is that the developer’s principal business is residential development, they meet the profits conditions so their annual profit over the last three years is £10m or more and they have developed or refurbished high-rise buildings in England in last 30 years.

The second is that the developer meets the profits condition and have developed or refurbished multiple buildings that are eligible for the government cladding remediation scheme.

The final criteria is a developer who has developed or refurbished at least one building over 11 metres that qualified for remediation and they volunteer to sign the contract and join the scheme.

They will be required to provide evidence they are complying with the scheme through quarterly returns, and formal warnings can be issued or membership can be revoked without warning in the “appropriate circumstances”.

Gove said eligible developers who choose not to join the scheme or are “expelled” due to “material or persistent breach of its conditions” will not be permitted to carry out major development or secure building control sign-offs.

“The message to those developers who have yet to sign the contract, their shareholders and investors could not be clearer. The Responsible Actors Scheme is coming. Only developers who behave responsibly will be trusted to build the homes of the future. Any eligible developers who fail to do the right thing will need to find a new line of work,” he added.

He noted that Ballymore, Lendlease, London Square and Telford Homes have now signed cladding remediation contracts, but seven, Abbey Developments, Avant, Dandara, Emerson Group (Jones Homes), Galliard Homes, Inland Homes and Rydon Homes, have yet to sign the contract.

Gove said those who had not yet signed claimed to “remain committed to protecting leaseholders and taxpayers from having to pay” and would sign the contract in coming days.

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