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Building Safety: Northpoint Building

Volume 679: debated on Wednesday 9 September 2020

I am today informing the House of a contingent liability for the Northpoint building for £200,000 to enable them to sign a basic asset protection agreement (the agreement) with Network Rail and progress remediation. Northpoint is a private residential building in Bromley which, over three years after Grenfell, has unsafe aluminium composite material (ACM) which remains un-remediated. It is our expectation for high-rise buildings with dangerous ACM to start remediation work on site by the end of the year.

The Northpoint building is adjacent to a railway line managed by Network Rail. For remediation construction works to advance, an agreement needs to be signed between Network Rail and the Northpoint Management Company. Northpoint leaseholders are paying significant sums in “Waking Watch” costs for each month the building is not remediated, while the building poses a safety risk. The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) is funding the remediation of (ACM) cladding at the building through the private sector cladding ACM remediation fund. However, the risks associated with the agreement cannot be covered by the fund. This building is in a unique position, as it is an unsafe ACM building, over 18 metres, which is adjacent to a railway and managed by a resident management company who require surety for a capped amount of liability. MHCLG will, therefore, underwrite Northpoint Management Company for £200,000 of risk.

MHCLG has undertaken a contingent liability during parliamentary recess. HM Treasury approved this liability before it was activated. The contingent liability was urgent, because it was needed to ensure the remediation of an unsafe building could take place as quickly as possible. This is in line with my Department’s aim to ensure that residents of high-rise residential buildings are safe and feel safe from the risk of fire. The liability is capped at £200,000.

If a Member has any further enquiries by giving notice of a parliamentary question or by otherwise raising the matter in parliament, the Department will be happy to provide a response.