Building inspectors have warned that the government is on the ‘cusp of disaster’ as the post-Grenfell insurance crisis forces more inspection firms to suspend operations
The Association of Consultant Approved Inspectors (ACAI), which represents the majority of the UK’s private building inspectors, said the industry is facing job losses and major project delays.
Private building inspectors must hold professional indemnity and public liability insurance to trade in the UK.
However, following the Grenfell Tower fire, insurers are reining in cover, so private inspectors are unable to renew and are forced to pause operations.
According to the association, three inspection firms, together responsible for more than 5 per cent of live UK construction projects, have stopped trading. At least one, Darlington-based Aedis, has gone into liquidation.
By the end of October a total of 15 will have been forced to stop work, representing more than 15 per cent of all live projects, according to the ACAI.
The terms for the insurance are set by the government and the ACAI has called on newly-appointed housing secretary Robert Jenrick to review them urgently .
ACAI chief Paul Timmins said: ’The government is on the cusp of a disaster of its own making if it does not act now on Approved Inspectors’ insurance.
’If private building inspectors are forced to cease trading en masse there will be significant job losses in the sector and major projects delays, which will hit the construction industry hard, as well as the government’s own housing ambitions.
’It simply is not enough to hope that overstretched local authorities will be able to pick up the pieces.’
’We have been engaged in a constructive dialogue with the government in recent months, but the time for talk is over. The government must take responsibility for action now or wake up in several weeks’ time to a crisis it could have prevented.’
A Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government spokesperson said: ’While this is primarily a matter for the insurers and their representative bodies, we are working with them to understand whether we are able to provide any further help.’