As Telford Homes requests more time Weston Homes says it has still not received the paperwork to sign the pledge
Telford Homes has told Housing Today it is waiting to see if the government will give it more time to decide whether to sign the pledge to remediate its own tower blocks between 11m and 18m high.
The £239.6m-turnover housebuilder has said signing the building safety pledge was a “complex matter” and it was currently discussing it with key stakeholders, including the Home Builders Federation.
Another housebuilder, Weston Homes, said it had agreed to sign the pledge but not signed it yet because it still had not received the relevant paperwork.
The Weston Group, which has a turnover of £178.8m, along with Telford Homes was not in the list published by the Department for Levelling Up, Homes and Communities of 35 housebuilders in England that had signed the pledge.
Housing secretary Michael Gove in his statement last week reaffirmed his commitment to “hold industry to account”. “Under our new measures there will be nowhere to hide,” he said.
While Gove “welcomed” that many of the largest developers had signed the pledge he added “this is just the beginning”. Industry figures have said Gove set a deadline of 5 April for major developers to sign it.
The department also said: “For the companies yet to make the pledge, the secretary of state has also confirmed there is little time left for them to sign up, and that those who continue to refuse will face consequences if they fail to do so.”
It said the government is bringing in powers that would allow Gove to prevent any firms refusing to sign the pledge from building or selling new homes. The powers could also be used on any developer breaching the agreement.
Housing Today has asked the department which developers were approached to sign the pledge and what its criteria was for choosing them. The DLUHC had not responded to those questions at the time of publishing this story.
More on the cladding costs deal
Telford Home said: “We acknowledge the development industry’s responsibility to leaseholders and are actively discussing the building safety pledge with key stakeholders, including the Home Builders Federation.
“We are awaiting an extension of the signing deadline in order to evaluate this complex matter and will continue to address this issue to the benefit of leaseholders.”
The statement from Weston Homes said: “Weston Homes at its recent board meeting has discussed and considered the proposition from the secretary of state, and has agreed to sign up to the HBF pledge. However, Weston Homes has not yet received the paperwork, once this is received, it will be signed and returned immediately.”
The £124m developer Inland Homes, which was also not on the list, said it would “update the market shortly” on its decision. Its statement said: “Building safety is our first priority and we fully support the principle that leaseholders should not have to pay for remediating blocks with fire safety issues. This matter is on top of the board’s agenda and we will update the market shortly.”
Crest Nicholson, which has a £677.9m turnover, was on the list but as a firm that “intended” to sign. The company said its position had not changed since it released a statement on 5 April, which said it would sign the pledge but that it had to calculate the “further exception charge” this would entail. The firm predicted this extra cost would be around £80m to £120m. “This is a complex and judgemental area and the group will continue to work at speed to refine its latest estimate of these costs.”
Gove also announced last week he is bringing in a £3bn levy for the industry in England to pay to repair so-called “orphan” mid-rise buildings hit by the fire-safety crisis. The levy will be raised on planning approval of all new residential buildings for buildings where the owners or developers can not be found.
Housebuilders hit back at the levy plan with the boss of the Home Builders Federation, Stewart Baseley, saying the move was “unacceptable”.