A YORK-headquartered house builder has set aside £75million to address cladding safety issues in the wake of London’s Grenfell Tower fire scandal.

Persimmon has announced the financial commitment for any necessary repair work on 26 buildings after carrying out a review of projects in its legacy development portfolio.

The U.K.’s biggest homebuilder has made a provision of 75 million pounds in its 2020 results to pay for work on the 26 buildings it developed that may be affected by the issue.

In a statement today, Wednesday, the Group which is predominantly a builder of traditional family homes, said it had not been a major developer of high-rise buildings.

Housebuilding giant Persimmon has set aside £75 million to pay for work on potentially unsafe cladding on 26 multi-storey buildings constructed by the group in the past.

"We believe we account for less than one percent of all high-rise developments," said the company which is behind York developments such as Germany Beck.

"However, in the past we have built multi-storey buildings which met all the fire safety rules and regulations in place at the time, but which used cladding materials which may now be considered unsafe and require removal.

"The Group believes strongly that it has a responsibility to step forward and tackle this issue head-on. Persimmon has therefore made a provision of £75 million in its 2020 results to pay for our contribution to any necessary work on 26 buildings that may be affected by the cladding issue.

"Persimmon has identified nine high-rise buildings over 18 metres, built by the Group where, in-line with government guidance, cladding may need to be removed."

The UK's major political parties have been calling for the private sector to take more financial responsibility for tackling potentially dangerous buildings to prevent another tragedy. The price for the repairs could be as high as 15 billion pounds, according to a Parliamentary report.

Minister of State for Housing Christopher Pincher told Parliament last week: “In many cases, building owners or their managing agencies have passed on significant remediation costs to leaseholders without regard to the affordability of those measures. We absolutely expect developers, investors and buildings owners who have the means to pay to do the right thing.” 

For buildings below 18 metres in height the Government has recommended a risk-based approach.

The Group has identified 17 buildings below 18 metres that may be fitted with cladding requiring detailed investigation. 

The Group is writing to building owners and management companies to inform them of its review findings and to agree next steps. It is the Group’s intention to progress matters as swiftly as possible, minimising uncertainty and concern for residents.

Roger Devlin, chairman of Persimmon, said: “The concern around now banned cladding is affecting many thousands of homeowners who live in high-rise buildings right across the country.

“At Persimmon we believe we have a clear duty to act to address this issue. So today we are setting aside £75 million towards any necessary cladding remediation and safety work in 26 developments we built.

"Where we still own the building we will act. Where we no longer own them we will work with the owners to make sure they meet their legal responsibilities and duty. If the owner does not step up then we will act to remove uncertainty and anxiety for residents and make the buildings safe.

“This is a decision which we believe is not only right for residents but also the right thing for us to do as one of the leading housebuilders in the UK. We want Persimmon to be a business with a long-term, responsible and sustainable future and hope our actions today demonstrate a clear commitment to these values.”