Over half of the housing units constructed by the organization in charge of installing the dangerous cladding on the Grenfell Tower have been discovered to have critical fire safety concerns, it has been uncovered.
According to data from the government and reported by the Guardian, Rydon’s development branch, responsible for installing the flammable cladding that was the main factor in the fatal fire at Grenfell Tower that claimed 72 lives, has constructed 25 residential buildings in England. Of those, 14 have been discovered to have problems.
Newly released data from the Department of Levelling Up, Housing and Communities reveals that the largest property developers in the country have constructed at least 1,325 buildings taller than 11 metres that have been deemed unsafe.
The estimated cost for repairing these blocks is over £2.7bn, with an average of £2m per building.
Last year, the country’s largest developers signed up to a government scheme in which they agreed to take responsibility for addressing life-critical fire safety issues on all of the buildings taller than 11 metres erected in the last three decades.
The most crucial safety concerns involve the use of flammable cladding on building exteriors, as well as fire-stopping measures and fire compartmentation techniques used to prevent the spread of fire within a building.
The plan aims to guarantee that developers enlist fire safety assessors to determine which buildings require improvements, and also cover the expenses for fixing them.
Rydon has completed assessments on all 25 of its buildings, and identified 14 that require work. As of the end of November, they have begun remediation on seven of the 14 buildings, but have only completed two.
The government has identified the company, Rydon Group Holdings, as a participant in the remediation program. This company is the owner of Rydon Maintenance, the company in charge of the Grenfell refurbishment.
Information presented during the investigation of the Grenfell fire, for which a conclusive report is still pending, has indicated that the company depended on subcontractors to ensure the materials being used were compliant. It was also revealed that the company saved £126,000 by switching to a less expensive and more flammable cladding material.
During the inquiry, Rydon’s QC, Marcus Taverner, stated that the company was adhering to standard procedures and industry norms by delegating compliance knowledge to specialized firms.
The latest financial statement from Rydon included a £27 million set-aside for its involvement in a legal resolution with 900 individuals impacted by the fire. The settlement is said to be valued at £150 million.
It was among the final developers to enroll in the government’s remediation program, joining in September of last year, six months after most of the other participants. The Secretary of Housing, Michael Gove, had warned that those who did not comply would face a nationwide prohibition from the housing market.
Rydon, led by CEO Bob Bond and with an annual revenue of £52m, consistently maintained that it operated as a medium-sized home construction company. They insisted that they would only participate in the government contract if it was expanded to include all small to medium-sized businesses (SMEs).
The most recent data on developer remediation reveals the extent of the problem with hazardous buildings that require repairs throughout England, as well as the extensive remediation efforts that must be undertaken by major home construction companies.
52 developers are responsible for fixing a total of 1,325 buildings that are 11 metres or higher. So far, only 262 (19%) of the buildings have been fixed, leaving 872 (65%) still in need of work.
Most of the remediation efforts will focus on eliminating hazardous cladding from residential buildings.
Bellway is one of the companies with the largest costs for fixing issues. According to the numbers, the company has examined 274 of its 502 constructions to date and determined that 195 require remedial action.
Taylor Wimpey has surveyed 257 out of its 384 structures and determined that 171 of them require repairs.
A representative from the Home Builders Federation, the organization that represents the largest house builders in the UK, stated that there is a commitment to fix any issues in buildings constructed by these builders so residents can feel secure.
British construction companies have shown their dedication by contributing £2 billion to fix issues with their own buildings, while also being taxed £2.5 billion to cover the costs of repairs for buildings constructed by foreign companies and other entities.
Other parties besides house builders are also involved in the remediation process. House builders depend on building owners to request a survey of necessary repairs, which can be a time-consuming process.
The government must follow through on its promise to obtain contributions from overseas contractors and suppliers, who are at the center of this crisis.
Rydon was contacted by The Guardian for a response.