Manufacturers are saying that they will pay to replace their own faulty products but refuse to foot the bill for the mistakes of others.
Their stance is in contrast to the house-builders, who have agreed an industry-wide scheme (five years after the event that brought the affair to light).
“Despite our considerable effort and numerous lengthy detailed discussions to get actions moving, it has not been possible to gain widespread support to enable the industry to sign up for a voluntary funding scheme,” the Construction Products Association (CPA), their representative body, said.
The CPA was responding to a letter sent yesterday by Michael Gove, the cabinet minister whose ‘levelling up’ department includes the Ministry of Housing.
Gove told the CPA: “It is unacceptable that there has been no clear acknowledgement that actions taken by cladding and insulation manufacturers have contributed to the problem, and that manufacturers have individually and collectively failed to come forward with a proposal for playing their part in addressing it.
“I have instructed my officials to do whatever it takes to make sure that construction product manufacturers are held to account through the powers that I am establishing in the Building Safety Bill. My new recovery unit will pursue firms that have failed to do the right thing, including through the courts. I will consider carefully how to use other powers at my disposal to make sure that there are significant commercial and reputational consequences for those firms that have not stepped up.”
The CPA’s initial response seeks to exculpate both the organisation and its membersship. To paraphrase, it basically says “we helped with the Hackitt review, have contributed to other working groups and initiatives and we’ve developed the Code for Construction Product Information to curtail lying, so we can’t be bad guys, but we won’t put our hands in our pockets”.
The CPA says that it is easier for house-builders to agree to a scheme because “their direct connectivity with their buildings is far more manageable than that for product manufacturers that will be at the end of a long supply chain”.
It adds: “Though product manufacturers remain concerned about the quality of evidence showing unsafe situations, they are also concerned over the lack of detail and focus on ensuring remediation is addressed where it is needed.”