CPA warns lack of clear data is hindering Government’s own building safety plans

Latest News Fri, Mar 18, 2022 7:08 AM

The Chief Executive of the CPA has written to the Secretary of State to provide an update on the status of the work with the government’s Residents’ Voice and Levy team.

Peter Caplehorn has also shared a number of observations which he says are relevant to any scheme brought forward to tackle the issues of funding and remediation.

He has raised a number of on-going concerns and issues as regards the proposals originally put forward by Michael Gove, but told the Minister that the CPA members remained committed to the Government’s broad aims to improve building safety and solve the cladding crisis affecting thousands around the UK.

The follow-up letter comes after the initial correspondence in January 2022 outlining Mr Gove’s request for the construction products industry to provide proposal for advancing funding of the cladding remediation on buildings between 11 and 18 metres.


The CPA has been frequently consulting with the Government’s Residents’ Voice and Levy team, along with its own membership and the wider supply chain community.

Mr Caplehorn reaffirmed the CPA’s willingness to work with Government to help bring about solutions to the wider building safety concerns.

First, there is widespread agreement that the owners and occupiers of dwellings in these buildings should not be faced with bills stemming from an assessment that they have unsafe cladding,” he writes.

“Equally, the concept of a “polluter pays” model also has widespread support. We are aware of several companies, including our members, committing publicly to pay for remediation where they are responsible for the issues.

But he raises some key points, including:

  • The number of dwellings affected is unclear. There are estimates from various sources that differ considerably and whilst work is ongoing to establish an accurate understanding, even a clear approximate figure is currently unavailable. We note that, per your correspondence, we are encouraging product manufacturers involved in the supply of cladding and insulation products to voluntarily provide a list of 11m+ projects where these have been supplied.
  • The accuracy and evidence of the original assessment of unsafe cladding is being questioned. There is also broad acknowledgement that some assessments may be overzealous and disproportionate, calling into question what remediation is actually needed in each case. This may substantially affect the amount of resources required.
  • As a result of the lack of clear information, it currently appears that the sums initially requested (£4 billion) by Government to account for funding the remediation of cladding and insulation cannot be accurately derived or verified at this time.
  • Further to that point, we have been unable to clarify the Government’s clear expectations about what it exactly deems an “appropriate contribution” from manufacturers to a remediation fund, nor exactly which manufacturers will be involved, in addition to contributions from other parts of the supply chain.

Mr Caplehorn outlines three important caveats to help ensure quick progress and adds: “The Government’s March-end deadline appears critically short given so many fundamental, unanswered questions. We share the ambition to relieve impacted leaseholders as soon as possible, but fear a premature solution will prove ineffective and undermine confidence both amongst those leaseholders and industry.

“Finally, it must also be recognised that the capacity of the sector to undertake further remediation work is currently constrained. The 18 metre plus programme is already absorbing a significant proportion of resources in the whole construction supply chain, both for labour and products. There remains a shortage of skilled construction workers at every level.

“UK construction is also experiencing a wide problem with obtaining insurance to enable contractors to undertake new work. The war in Ukraine is also adding to existing product shortages and inflationary pressures. For expedient remediation, all these issues will need to be understood and, if possible, factored into any work programme.

“At this point in time, the construction supply chain has made it clear to the CPA that, given the aforementioned uncertainties and lack of clear information, a consensus is lacking for any model of remediation funding beyond a “polluter pays” model that is limited to the cladding and insulation sector.

Once key information and clarification can be provided as set out above, we can assist the Government further in this endeavour.

“The bad practices and poor behaviours highlighted in the Grenfell Inquiry must be addressed by everyone in the construction supply chain, including product manufacturers. To that end, for over four years the CPA has been heavily focused on work to ensure such practices and behaviours are consigned to the past.

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