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£5bn safety fund to replace cladding ‘not enough’ – Colmore Tang Construction

The government’s £5bn funding for cladding remediation works is nowhere near enough for what is required to make every high-rise housing development EWS1 A1 compliant, according Colmore Tang Construction.

The company looked at remedial projects in Leeds, Manchester, and the Midlands, and estimates that the real cost will be closer to £50bn. Work in this area began following the Grenfell fire disaster in 2017, which killed scores of people in one London block of flats.

Colmore Tang Construction said it had actively priced the works on over 20 typical developments which have been investigated and found to be defective, therefore requiring envelope remedial works if they are to meet the EWS1 compliancy criteria. They have found the average cost of these works to be circa £4.65m for buildings above 18m and circa £2m for buildings between 11m and 18m, which they claim is fair reflection of typical costs across the country.

The latest Building Safety Programme figures from MHCLG reveal that around 5,000 buildings over 18m require an EWS1 certificate and may require remedial works, while the same can be said for around 35,000 11-18m buildings. According to Colmore Tang’s pricing, which reflects their first-hand and recent experience of tender processes for cladding remedial works, this would bring the total to around £25bn for buildings over 18m and £70bn for buildings between 11m and 18m.

Steve Underwood, COO of Colmore Tang Construction, said: “The bottom line is that the true cost of remedial works has been severely underestimated and meaningful progress won’t be made until politicians and industry professionals develop a clearer understanding of funding and logistical challenges at hand here.”

He added: “Our estimates are not plucked out of thin air but are based upon real life scenarios which we see day in, day out. There’s a stark difference between costing a project and actually executing it, which largely explains this discrepancy. We’re seeing developers and surveyors quoting budgets that are nowhere near where they should be and we’re sleep walking into a scenario in which that only becomes apparent half way through the remedial works. That’s bad news for everyone.”