Redrow agrees to fund remediation at Celestia

Redrow has written to the volunteer directors of the Celestia complex in Cardiff, finally offering to undertake remediation works there at its own expense. The estimated date for work to begin is “early 2025” – approaching two years since the Welsh Government confirmed that Redrow had signed the Deed of Bilateral Contract.

When we met Redrow in December 2023, they confirmed to us that they had not yet started work on site at any buildings in Wales but that 9 buildings had been identified as Tier 1 (very high priority). This included 7 buildings at the Celestia development.

We are pleased to learn that there is finally an estimated date for work to begin at Celestia and hope that the remediation project will now progress at pace so that leaseholders and residents are free to move on with their lives.

“It has taken far too long but it is a very significant step. Although there are some important omissions in Redrow’s offer, we believe these can be addressed satisfactorily with goodwill.”

mark thomas, chair, celestia management company limited

Celestia Management Company Limited (CMCL) has issued the following statement in response to Redrow’s letter:

“We welcome the written offer made by Redrow PLC on 9th April 2024 ‘to undertake works to address the fire safety defects and non-fire safety external façade defects at its own expense’ at Celestia. The offer extends to all the buildings at Celestia, which were identified as high priority buildings in the Deed of Bilateral Contract (DBC) signed between Redrow PLC and Welsh Ministers on 18th April 2023 – almost exactly a year ago.

The offer comes six months after intrusive investigations by architects, fire engineers and structural engineers representing each of CMCL (and leaseholders), Redrow and Laing O’Rourke confirmed the existence of defects originally identified over 5 years ago. These investigations were undertaken in the course of High Court proceedings between the parties. Those proceedings are currently outstanding and will continue pending further clarification by Redrow of its offer and in relation to other issues.

The Building Safety Act 2022, which came into force on 28th April 2022, made developers liable for defective buildings they constructed up to 30 years ago. This Act covers a wider range of defects than are covered by the DBC, which is limited to life-threatening fire defects. We are, therefore, particularly pleased to see that Redrow has expressly accepted liability to repair non-fire safety defects as well as eschewing arguments used by other developers in Wales and elsewhere about the precise definition of ‘life-threatening’.

We understand Redrow’s intention is to continue to seek an indemnity in respect of the costs of the work from Laing O’Rourke, who built Celestia for Redrow. However, we have been assured that resolution of the outstanding legal claim will not delay the work. Redrow has already provided for the costs (which we estimate to be around £20 million) in its accounts and will finance the cost from its own resources.

It has taken far too long but it is a very significant step. Although there are some important omissions in Redrow’s offer, we believe these can be addressed satisfactorily with goodwill. We are – and always have been – ready to move forward to facilitate with the remediation of Celestia at pace.

The target completion date is early 2027, which means leaseholders have to endure another three years of disruption and being unable to sell. The timetable must not slip and we need the support of the Welsh Government, Cardiff City Council, planning authorities and others, including the freeholder, to ensure it does not do so.

We are responding formally in writing to Redrow and look forward to working with them to ensure rapid progress and to addressing the important question of compensation for leaseholders.”

Celestia Management Company Limited, 16th April 2024

Note: CMCL has since advised us that they wrote to Redrow on 16th April and are awaiting clarification on a number of points.

CALL TO ACTION! 
If you need to raise any issues with DLUHC related to the developer contract – including issues with your building owner or managing agent – you can email building.safety@levellingup.gov.uk Please provide the name and address of your building together with a short summary of your concerns and any other relevant details.  

For all other issues you wish to raise with DLUHC, please email correspondence@levellingup.gov.uk  

Please copy our team at endourcladdingscandal@gmail.com so that we are aware of the issues being raised and can follow up where necessary.


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