New team set up by DLUHC to pursue firms dragging their heels on building safety work ramps up activity

A specialist unit set up to pursue construction companies who refuse to carry out fire safety remediation has opened inquiries into 19 firms, the building safety minister has said

The recovery strategy unit (RSU) was set up by the Department for Levelling Up Housing and Communities to work with other enforcement authorities to pursue firms that repeatedly do not carry out remediation works.

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Lee Rowley, building safety minister speaking in parliament yesterday

Lee Rowley, building safety minister, speaking in parliament yesterday said: “There are many different leads at the moment, they have to be triaged, then there are a series of individual cases which are chosen and there are 19 live inquiries or activities underway.”

He added: “They [the RSU] are building up their capacity, they are building up their knowledge, they are building up their experience.” Rowley said the RSU is not able to pursue every case, but the purpose is to demonstrate to industry it is willing to take action and to “change behaviour on a broader scale.”

Rowley said the RSU is also helping others to take legal action against firms “on their own terms.”

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Housing secretary Michael Gove in January said the RSU has active investigations under way into the conduct of contractors and construction product manufacturers “that bear responsibility” for the building safety crisis.

The unit began its first major action last year, giving block owner Grey GR Limited Partnership 21 days to remediate its 15-storey Vista Tower block in Stevenage or be taken to court. Grey GR is owned by asset manager RailPen.