The country’s largest house builder has admitted that fixing fire safety issues on all its buildings could take another seven years, at a cost of nearly £400m

02 November 2022

Speaking at Barratt Homes’ annual general meeting on 17 October, chief financial officer Mike Scott said it could take another five to seven years before all the developer’s buildings that need remediation are fixed.

If it is the latter, it would mean more than 12 years will have passed since the Grenfell Tower disaster for a full fix of its blocks. 

The revelation from Barratt gives a clue to how long other private house builders may take to fix buildings, with many of the country’s biggest developers facing similar issues. 

The delays may be further exacerbated by labour shortages and material price cost rises amid high levels of inflation. 

Barratt is one of 49 firms to sign up to the government’s building safety pledge.

The pledge a commitment from house builders to remediate all buildings taller than 11 metres with critical fire safety issues that they had a hand in developing or refurbishing over the past 30 years. 

Barratt’s financial accounts for 2021-22 showed the builder has put aside £396.4m to remediate safety issues on existing buildings.

Its annual report estimated that the work “should be delivered over the next three to five years”.

Inside Housing understands that within five years is the aim, while the seven-year figure is precautionary. 

Dave Richards from the London Cladding Action Group, who is a member of the End Our Cladding Scandal campaign team, attended the AGM alongside shareholders. 

According to a post by the campaign group, Mr Richards asked how Barratt felt about its homeowners “being trapped for such a long time in unsafe homes, unable to move, and paying excessive interim costs for waking watches and buildings’ insurance”. 

The campaign group’s post also mentioned that Barratt had signed the government’s building safety pledge but is yet to sign a legal contract. Mr. Richards said Barratt explained that this was because “the draft from the government is not in a form that any builder could sign up to”. 

Responding to the EOCS article, the house builder told Inside Housing that it is planning to sign the contract and is in talks with the government.

A spokesperson said Barratt “has always been clear” that it does not believe leaseholders should pay for necessary remediation of their homes. 

They added: “We backed the industry pledge in the spring and expect to sign the long-form agreement with government soon.” 

In the meantime, we are focused on supporting leaseholders by instructing independent assessments of buildings in line with latest government guidance and then planning and carrying out that remediation on our historic buildings as quickly as possible.”