The Building Safety Act 2022

2. Questions to the Counsel General and Minister for the Constitution – in the Senedd at on 6 March 2024.

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Photo of Rhys ab Owen Rhys ab Owen Plaid Cymru

(Translated)

3. What legal advice has the Counsel General provided to the Minister for Climate Change in relation to enacting sections 116 to 125 of the Building Safety Act 2022, in light of the ruling in Triathlon Homes v Stratford Village Development Partnership and others? OQ60788

Photo of Mick Antoniw Mick Antoniw Labour 2:19, 6 March 2024

Well, thank you for the question. In Wales, the context is different to England. We have announced there is a route to remediation for all buildings of 11m or over in height. This commitment extends to both cladding and non-cladding-related fire safety issues, and is for all leaseholders.

Photo of Rhys ab Owen Rhys ab Owen Plaid Cymru

Diolch, Cwnsler Cyffredinol. As you know, leaseholders in Wales feel that they are currently on a jagged edge. Whilst leaseholders in England are able to bring action to force developers to pay their fair share of the costs of remediation, those here in Wales are having to navigate layers of bureaucracy in order to get similar results. Constituents engaging with the leaseholder support scheme have complained of a lack of timescale, communication issues and lack of accountability. The Prif Weinidog has said previously that these sections are not necessary because the Welsh Government is responsible for legally challenging developers, but would it not be simpler and more efficient for the leaseholders themselves to hold and exercise those powers? Will the Welsh Government listen to the leasehold campaigners and enact these sections to give them the right to seek remediation contribution orders? Diolch.

Photo of Mick Antoniw Mick Antoniw Labour 2:20, 6 March 2024

Thank you for the question, and it is an important question. Part of it probably ought to be addressed to the Minister for Climate Change, within whose portfolio this lies. But in terms of the legal aspects to it, one thing to say is that we have announced that there is a route to remediation for all buildings over 11m in height. This commitment extends to both cladding and non-cladding-related fire safety issues, and it's for all leaseholders. So, we simply do not need the same legislation in Wales, where the context is different to that of England, and where all leaseholders in buildings of 11m and over have a route to get their buildings made as fire safe as possible. 

Now, to my knowledge, the recent tribunal case in England is just the second contribution order for funding to address fire safety issues to date. However, given that all buildings of 11m and over have a route to remediation in Wales for fire safety issues, which extends to both external and internal fire safety, leaseholders and others in Wales do not have to go down the route of a tribunal to be able to have their building made as safe from fire risk as it can be. We have been clear that we do not wish to only limit liability for leaseholders, and that we have been firm that the leaseholder should not pay for works to rectify safety issues that are not of their making. I think we've also chosen not to exclude leaseholders by adopting the concept of qualifying and non-qualifying leaseholders, so we invite expressions of interest from responsible persons so that we can support all leaseholders who find themselves in a building impacted by fire safety. 

Eleven major UK developers with buildings in Wales have signed the Welsh Government's contract, which commits them to remediating fire safety defects in buildings they've developed over the last 30 years. To support this, officials are procuring legal advisers to support leaseholders where a dispute arises on circumstances that are not covered in the Welsh Government contract.