This week has seen the Government take the first steps under the new enforcement provisions in the Building Safety Act ("Act"), giving them the power to compel entities to fund and undertake remedial works.

The developer/owner of a 15-storey tower block in Stevenage, has been given 21 days to commit to remedial work addressing alleged fire safety defects in the tower, failing which the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities ("DLUHC") say an application will be made to the Court.

The government has also confirmed they are considering issuing applications for contribution orders against other entitles associated with the development, requiring them to contribute to the costs.

This is one of the first owners to be targeted by the Recovery Strategy Unit, which is a newly created unit forming part of the DLUHC, tasked with identifying and pursuing building owners under the Act.

With the DLUHC confirming they have identified at least 23 other buildings where they consider there has been unnecessary delays to remedial works and that they are "closely considering next steps", it is clear this first action is designed as a warning, with the Levelling up secretary Simon Clarke confirming:

"This legal action should act as a warning to the rest of industry’s outliers, big and small. Step up, follow your peers and make safe the buildings you own or legal action will be taken against you.”

This comes less than a month after the Government brought into force the provisions under the Act giving them additional powers to try and force developers commit to remediating historic buildings.

It is clear that the Government is starting to explore and use the new powers under the Act and the Industry will need to consider and adapt to this new landscape and the different routes through which parties can be pursued for alleged defects and compelled to commit to remedial works.

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Amy Pairman

Senior Associate

Eric Johnstone

Legal Director

Louise Shiels

Head of Dispute Resolution and Risk & Partner