Building owner fined over missed cladding remediation deadline

A building owner found guilty of missing a deadline to remove unsafe cladding has been ordered to pay a total of £60,000.

Chaplair Limited was successfully prosecuted on 18 October by Newham Council over delays in remediating a building in East London.

On Tuesday (31 October) the company was handed a £30,000 fine, ordered to pay £30,000 in costs and given a £190 victim surcharge, in a sentencing hearing at City of London Magistrates Court.

Imposing the fine, deputy chief magistrate Tan Ikram said that the cladding was highly dangerous and that Chaplair had not taken the risk it posed seriously enough.

He acknowledged, however, that the failure came in the wake of “evolving” government policy and at a difficult time as the country emerged from the Covid pandemic.

In a statement, Newham mayor Rokhsana Fiaz said the council pursued the case “to make it abundantly clear to building owners in Newham that there can be no exceptions to the safety of our residents living in their properties and the issue of safe cladding remains paramount”.

Fiaz added: “The outcome of this legal case raises the crucial importance of safety standards in the homes people live and is a warning to all housing providers that where appropriate and necessary Newham Council will use all the powers available under existing legislation to make homes safe.”

Newham Council’s legal victory marked the first time a local authority had successfully prosecuted a building owner for failing to remove flammable cladding, using its powers under the Housing Act 2004.

During the prosecution, Ikram said that Chaplair “failed to satisfy me that it has a reasonable excuse in failing to comply with the improvement notice”.

The council issued the firm with the notice in September 2020 to remove dangerous cladding on Lumiere House, a nine-storey block in East London containing 71 flats.

Inspectors found that works had not even started by March 2021, the deadline Chaplair was given to remove the cladding.

Chaplair has been contacted for comment.

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