The Week That Was - 12 August 2022

Published on 12 August 2022

Welcome to The Week That Was, a round-up of key events in the construction sector over the last seven days.

Over £600m in funding available for the retrofitting of public buildings

The  latest phase of the Government's decarbonisation scheme will see up to £635m in funding being made available,  with the aim of reducing emissions from public sector buildings by 75%, compared with 2017 levels, by 2037.

Upgrades to buildings could save the taxpayer £650m on energy bills annually by enabling the buildings to be more cost-effectively run.

Lord Callanan, business and energy minister, said: 

By helping even more public sector bodies ditch costly fossil fuels, we are taking an important step towards a more sustainable future while driving economic growth across the country and continuing to support tens of thousands of jobs.

Schools, hospitals, leisure centres and town halls are in line to benefit from efficiency upgrades and improvements such as low carbon heating, heat pumps, double glazing and loft insulation.

Previously, 734 grants were awarded to public sector organisations across England. This funding was used for various projects, including installing water source heat pumps at Queens Medical Centre in Nottingham, at a cost in excess £70m.

The funding is available through the Public Sector Decarbonisation Scheme, and those eligible are able to apply for grants from September.

You can read more here.
Mid- August deadline in doubt for contracts intended to fix cladding issues

The mid – August deadline for the contracts intended to fix cladding issues is in doubt due to significant concerns about creeping scope, liability and administration.  The contracts were intended to make developers responsible for assessing and correcting tower blocks built over the previous 30 years. 

A leaked letter from the managing director of The Home Builders Federation (HBF) has revealed that developers believe the proposals put forward are 'impossible to sign'.  Neil Jefferson, the managing director of HBF, has sent a letter to the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities that highlights concerns about the 'creeping scope, liability, and administration' of the proposed contracts .   It is claimed that the proposals go much further than the previous agreements made with government officials and as a result developers feel that they cannot sign the agreement.  Despite this, Jefferson insists that developers are still committed to carrying out these checks and fixes.

You can read more here.

Application for a remediation order

On 5 August 2022, the Government published form BSA1, which is to be used by leaseholders and other persons with a legal or equitable interest in a building to apply to the First-tier Tribunal Property Chamber for a remediation order pursuant to section 123 (2) of the Building Safety Act, requiring a building owner or developer to remedy defects in their building which put people's safety at risk from the spread of fire or structural collapse.

The Building Safety Regulator, the local authority and fire and rescue authority for the area in which the building is located and the Secretary of State may also make an application for a remediation order.

If a building owner or developer receives a remediation order, they must fix the defects within a specified time period. If they do not remediate the building in that period, they can be held in contempt of court, which can be punishable by a fine or up to 2 years in prison.

Leaseholders can also apply for a remediation contribution order against persons 'associated with the developer' to recover any remedial costs.

The application fee is only £100,  so these applications are likely to be popular with leaseholders. 

A copy of the form and the guidance notes can be found here.

New Built Environment Competence Standards

The British Standards Institution (BSI) has published three new standards or 'specifications' for the competency of designers and contractors who design and build high-rise residential developments.

The new standards are:

PAS 8671:2022 Built Environment - Framework for competence of individual Principal Designers-Specification

PAS 8672:2022 Built Environment - Framework for competence of Individual Principal Contractors-Specification

PAS8673:2022 Built Environment - Competence requirements for the management of safety in residential buildings-Specification

Copies of the three standards can be downloaded for free from the BSI here.
Authors for this week's edition: Faye Hopton-Cottrell and Jonathan Carrington.

Disclaimer: The information in this publication is for guidance purposes only and does not constitute legal advice.  We attempt to ensure that the content is current as at the date of publication, but we do not guarantee that it remains up to date.  You should seek legal or other professional advice before acting or relying on any of the content.

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