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Housebuilder Barratt faces a bill of up to £70m to repair concrete frame defects in flats it build, after it emerged that “extensive” remedial work is required on the concrete frame of a block of flats in Croydon.
The issue came to light in 2019 when the aluminium composite material (ACM) cladding was removed from the Citiscape development, revealing potential structural problems.
Barratt appointed independent structural engineers to
undertake a full investigation of the building.
The investigation revealed “significant issues” in relation
to the design of the building’s reinforced concrete frame (RCF) requiring
extensive remedial work.
Barratt said it was a non-standard development, designed in 2001 by a third-party structural engineering firm. Citiscape was sold to the current freeholders in 2003.
“While we have no legal liability to cover the costs of this
work, in line with our commitment to customers and recognising the
responsibility we have for the work of our partners, we have taken the decision
to pay for the required remedial action which would otherwise fall on
leaseholder,” Barratt said.
It has also appointed independent structural engineers to
undertake reviews of 26 other developments where reinforced concrete frames
were designed for Barratt either by the same engineering firm or by other
companies within the group of companies that has since acquired it.
The preliminary findings in all 26 developments have not
identified issues “as severe” as those at Citiscape, Barratt said. Engineers
are now undertaking more detailed reviews to see if any remediation of the
concrete frames is required. So far, the detailed reviews have shown that eight
developments have no defects, while seven required some remedial action to
address smaller-scale problems.
The problems on Citiscape were discovered because Barratt
conducted a 2017 review of all buildings where cladding had been used,
following the Grenfell Tower disaster. As part of the review, Barratt offered
to pay for work to remove and replace the aluminium composite material (ACM)
cladding on the Citiscape development in Croydon.
Up until 31 December 2019, Barratt has incurred costs of
£15.8m on Citiscape for the removal of ACM cladding and other voluntary
assistance, including providing alternative accommodation for residents. The
total future costs for remedial work at Citiscape, the review itself, and any
remediation required at other buildings will be around £70m.