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A major step for justice in the cladding crisis

Posted on 19 July 2022

We’re the first housing association to win a court case against a contractor for installing defective cladding.

A landmark High Court ruling has confirmed that contractor Mulalley & Co (Mulalley) fitted defective cladding that risked the safety of hundreds of our customers living in four residential towers in Gosport, Portsmouth.

The ruling sets a crucial example that construction contractors can be held accountable for the remedial costs of removing dangerous cladding. It could help others affected by the crisis – including other housing associations – by paving the way to hold construction contractors to account.

We (through one of our subsidiaries, Martlet Homes) brought High Court proceedings against Mulalley & Co because, while it admitted to some defective workmanship, it denied liability overall.

The High Court agreed Mulalley’s design and workmanship were defective, in breach of contract, and the cladding system didn’t comply with Building Regulations at the time it was installed. It also ruled we were entitled to recover the cost of remedial works, plus the cost of the waking watch, from Mulalley.

While the final amount of damages hasn’t been finalised, we’re confident we’ll recover most of the £8 million we claimed.

Andy Hulme, Hyde’s CEO, said: “This landmark ruling establishes the costs of defective work must be borne by those responsible. It’s a welcome step forward in helping right the wrongs of the past, and will hopefully mean remedial works can start more swiftly and mean damages sought for remedial works are more likely to be settled out of court with less delay.

“Millions of people are affected by the cladding crisis. The costs of which have for too long been left to  residents, the taxpayer and by the poorest people in society. As a not-for-profit housing association, we’ll continue to work hard to provide safe and decent homes for those who desperately need them. To date, we haven’t passed on the costs of any major fire safety works or waking watch to homeowners.”

Mulalley originally carried out cladding of the residential towers in Gosport between 2006 and 2008, when the towers were owned by another housing association, A2 Dominion.

Inspections of the residential towers in Gosport were carried out shortly after the Grenfell Tower tragedy. Our fire experts concluded the design and use of the cladding systems installed by Mulalley were defective.

We immediately decided to replace the cladding on the towers, at our own cost, to keep everyone safe. Because we remediated the cladding quickly, we missed out on any government funding.