September Report

Building Safety Unit

This year marks the fourth anniversary of the Grenfell Tower fire, and the shadow of the tragedy has cast a long shadow over the whole housing market.

In the years that have followed, it has been increasingly apparent that the challenges of ensuring building safety is a complex and difficult task. Retrospective changes are now being made to thousands of buildings, but defining the technical solutions are not straightforward. And neither are the complex interactions between the builders, the freeholders and the leaseholders.

For the wider housebuilding market, this challenge is significant. BECG’s Building Safety Unit’s latest report shows the extent to which consumer confidence has been knocked by the crisis; what impact that could have; and how developers have an opportunity to restore confidence by demonstrating a proactive approach to fire and building safety.

Our report highlights recent polling carried out for BECG’s Building Safety Unit by YouGov (August 2021), it shows that:

  • Confidence in new build housing has dropped significantly as a result of the cladding controversy. Nearly half of GB adults (49%) reported that the issue of cladding in the wake of the Grenfell fire has affected public confidence in new build housing.
  • People are more likely to buy from a developer who takes proactive steps to fix fire safety issues and defects. 68% of GB adults are more likely to buy a new build apartment where the building’s developer has taken steps to proactively fix fire safety defects in other buildings.
  • Overall, the public feel that the Government could have done more to tackle the fire safety issue in residential new builds. 71% of GB adults feel that the UK Government could have done more or did not do enough to ensure the removal of flammable cladding from other residential buildings.
  • Is the Bank of Mum and Dad about to stop lending? Mum and Dad are the 9th biggest lender in the UK, and a study by Legal & General (2020) revealed financial gifts from family and friends help support more than half of house purchases among the under-35s. But our polling suggests that the over 65s are the least confident in the new build housing market, and are increasingly critical of the Government’s attempt to tackle ongoing fire and building safety issues. Could one of the UK’s most important lenders be about to stop lending?

Download our latest report to see what this could mean for the wider industry, and how developers and housing associations can now best respond to this challenges, whilst working to protect their reputation.

 

For more details about the work of our Building Safety Unit, please contact Jenny Riddell Carpenter