A disagreement over who has to pay to remove cladding on Greenwich tower blocks has left residents in “real and imminent” danger of a serious fire, it has been claimed.

New Capital Quay (NCQ) is an eye-catching, vast, 1000-home development on the banks of the Thames, completed in summer 2013.

In the wake of the Grenfell fire, it was found that the cladding used at NQC were similar to that on Grenfell and it too failed fire safety tests.

However freeholders Galliard Homes believe that the National House Building Council (NHBC) should “honour their insurance obligations” and pay out to have the cladding removed.

Meanwhile NHBC says Galliard are legally responsible for the safety of the buildings at NCQ, which includes if building regulations are changed over time, as happened post-Grenfell.

Eight months later and the standoff continues with threats of the case being brought to the high court.

Annabel Parsons lives in NCQ and she said: “The risk of a serious fire at New Capital Quay is real and imminent.

“The development has been subjected to a waking watch as an interim measure and an alternative to immediate evacuation.

“The London Fire Brigade, Galliard and residents find this to be an inherently flawed and unsatisfactory solution.”

According to Greenwich Council, LFB have said the homes remain safe to live in, but the ‘stay put’ policy in the event of a fire has been abandoned in favour of a ‘simultaneous evacuation’.

Matthew Pennycook, MP for Greenwich and Woolwich, brought the issue up in the House of Commons on March 6, saying the residents were “terrified”.

He said: “Residents stuck in the middle of that messy squabble are terrified at the thought that their families are not safe, and leaseholders are anxious that they will be hit by the full costs of the work.

“At a public meeting last week, one elderly resident told me that she is resigned to the fact that she will not make it out of the building if there is a fire, even with the waking watch in place.”

What both organisations are saying:

A NHBC spokesperson said: "We understand that the situation at New Capital Quay is very concerning for residents and we are committed to making an assessment of their claim as swiftly as possible once we have the necessary information.

"We have asked the managing agent PMML who are legally responsible for the on-going safety of New Capital Quay and are a subsidiary of Galliard Homes, to provide evidence that the buildings did not comply with the Building Regulations in force at the time, annual fire risk assessments and maintenance records so that we can assess the claim.

"Since PMML have failed to provide this information and have not responded to our offers to assist, we have now stepped in to commission an independent expert to help us progress the claim as swiftly as possible for residents."


A Galliard Homes spokesperson said: “In the residential property market in the UK, the position regarding warranties and protection for homeowners is very clearly defined by the ‘Council of Mortgage Lenders’. The ‘CML’ rules provide that new homes should come with a ‘CML’ approved warranty ¬ a single warranty that is designed to be a ‘one-stop-shop’ protection point for the security of the homeowner and of course the bank providing the mortgage."

"By far and away the dominant market leader in terms of providing this insurance is the NHBC. At NCQ the protection personal to each homeowner, is the NHBC Buildmark Warranty. This insurance is for the direct benefit of each leaseholder at NCQ and is in place for a period of 10 years from the original Completion.

“Unlike the majority of insurance policies, there is one premium to cover the entire period, which was paid in advance ¬ and at NCQ a ?1M premium was paid to the NHBC for this insurance.

"So the NHBC did the Inspection and Certification that is was all compliant when it was built ¬ and the NHBC provide the insurance to the leaseholders for 10 years."

"At NCQ, leaseholders have begun to lodge the claims on their policies, but as yet the NHBC have not accepted that there is a problem with the ACM cladding ¬ their current position is that they are awaiting information from the Managing Agents ¬ the information they say they are awaiting is proof that the cladding does not comply.

“That untenable assertion is being robustly challenged and legal proceedings have been instigated to force the NHBC to honour their insurance obligations."