As campaigners lobby Ministers to intervene fully and rescue some 500,000 apartment owners trapped by the cladding scandal, senior industry figure Ed Mead joins the fray with his own tale.
Many reading the press around this issue, lost in the miasma that is Covid, have probably been thinking “Thank God that’s not going to affect me”.
Time to think again. Martina Lees’s excellent article in The Times reminds us that there are 1.5m properties potentially affected. If true it’s going to start to impact the wider market and unless the government does something, sooner than later.
My eye-opening moment came when an ex-employee at D&G told me about his experience, trapped in a block with a new wife and baby, vastly inflated service charges and a £0 valuation.
OK, he’s young and reasonably stoic, but in an era when home ownership is supposedly the dream, he’s in a very real nightmare with hundreds of thousands of others.
Mentioning government usually elicits groans, but they’re the only ones with the legislative ability to do anything. It seems to me there are a few things they could consider.
Estimates to fix everything are of the order of £4.4 billion. But this is paltry compared to the tens of billions being thrown at Covid AND sorting the issue will guarantee work for years.
The inability of mortgage companies to get an external wall system or EWS1 form attesting to the safety of the cladding is another problem so perhaps, at the same time they announce a mitigation plan, they could offer an indemnity to cover this issue off.
The Times report shows up what an appalling job was done in fitting much of the cladding.
Not just in terms of the actual cladding itself but the guff that was bunged in behind it. Some house builders will have been worse than others, but overall there must be some corporate responsibility and it might be thought reasonable if government sought some kind of wider levy on profits in the industry to kick start the national process.
I don’t have a universal solution to sort this but pressure needs to build – it’ll affect us all.