MICHAEL GOVE has today written to the Construction Products Association (CPA) saying manufacturers must pay up to help meet the costs of removing dangerous cladding from buildings.
In the letter from the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities (DLUHC), Michael Gove says construction manufacturers must make a “significant contribution” to the costs of remediating unsafe cladding on 11-18m and over 18m buildings, of £4bn and £5.1bn respectively.
Michael Gove points to the evidence that emerged from the Grenfell Inquiry and says “The range of past practices in the industry – across its approach to manufacturing, marketing and testing – has rightly been a source of huge concern to Parliament and the public.”
He adds: “The documentary evidence that has been published relating to the culture and practices of major cladding and insulation manufacturers has been extremely alarming.”
CPA Manufacturers to Pay Up
Identifying the three cladding and insulation firms most closely associated with the refurbishment of the Grenfell Tower, whose profits total over £700m, Michael Gove argues that the CPA must ask its members to negotiate with his government department to make a contribution to avoid “innocent leaseholders … [being] landed with bills to remove cladding products from their buildings they had no reason to suspect were dangerous.”
The secretary of state says there is “a window of opportunity” for the CPA’s members to respond between now and March.
If there is no response Michael Gove says, “I am prepared to do whatever it takes to deliver our objective including using our regulatory framework to limit any culpable company from operating and selling products in this country in the future.”
The three companies Michael Gove refers to are Arconic, Celotex and Kingspan Insulation. In March 2021 the Grenfell Inquiry heard that Arconic executives shared internal communications warning that their Reynobond PE cladding was a fire risk and should not be specified on a high rise building such as Grenfell Tower. Arconic’s French division technical head, Claude Wehrle, refused to face questioning at the Inquiry.
Celotex, owned by Saint Gobain provided its flammable RS5000 polyisocyanurate (PIR) product which was known to be flammable and fire tests were rigged to ensure the product passed.
Kingspan’s K15 insulated panels were used on Grenfell and three of the company’s directors cashed in their Kingspan shares ahead of the Inquiry’s hearing of the part Kingpan insulation played in the Grenfell tragedy.