Temple Bright advises managing agent Remus on “challenging” fire safety remediation project


Bristol and London law firm Temple Bright is advising national property managing agent Remus Management on fire safety remediation work at a development in Essex that involves removing and replacing its cladding.

Temple Bright construction partner Julia Davenport-Cooper leads the advice to Remus.

In 2022 Julia advised the owners of the Union Wharf development of 107 flats in Hoxton, East London, on a project to remove unsafe, non-ACM (aluminium composite material) cladding systems.

The project was one of the first to receive funding under the government’s Building Safety Fund, established after the 2017 Grenfell tragedy.

The Remus remediation project, which is described as “challenging”, relates to The Waterfront in Chelmsford, a property valued at more than £18m.

The work is being financed under a further government scheme – the Developer’s Pledge, introduced by Michael Gove’s DLUHC (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities).

This pledge, introduced in last year, established protection for leaseholders as to the costs of remediation, with developers signing a pledge (and contracts) committing to remediate life critical fire safety works in buildings over 11m tall that they have played a role in developing or refurbishing over the past 30 years.

The Chelmsford project developer Taylor Wimpey has implemented a two-phase contractual structure with Remus.

Under the first phase, it puts Remus in funds to develop the design and specification of remediation works, enabling the block to comply with new fire safety regulations.

Under the second, the developer provides funding for the works, which are now underway with a target completion date of mid-August.

The project is one of several on which Julia and Temple Bright are advising. Others include the Plaza 21 development in Swindon, a further Developer’s Pledge project for which the works contract has just been signed, and a series of Cladding Safety Scheme projects – the new name for what used to be called the mid-rise regime for buildings of 11-18 metres in height.

Temple Bright has three such projects either pending or proceeding.

Remus head of legal Rob Chapman said: “This has been a challenging project, given all parties have been working in uncharted territory in terms of the new fire safety legislation.

“We’ve nevertheless been able to work with Taylor Wimpey to agree the funding and delivery of a project that will ensure that the Waterfront fully complies with the latest fire safety legislation, and at no cost to the residents.

“We have relied heavily on Julia to negotiate and advise on the extensive documentation involved, and her combination of knowledge, professionalism and sense of humour have made the journey much more bearable.”

Julia added: “We are delighted to be working with Remus on this important project, in a sphere of the construction industry that has dramatically grown in the years since the Grenfell tragedy, with the welcome support of numerous government initiatives.

“There has been a great deal of activity arising from the need to urgently redress the threat to life in mid and high-rise residential developments.”

She said it was impressive how the industry had mobilised to address the risks exposed by Grenfell, and developers had committed to dealing thoroughly with risks caused by unsafe cladding.

“Temple Bright has been delighted to stand shoulder to shoulder with the directors and leaseholders to help ensure the previous failings in the sector which led to the deadly fire at Grenfell are remediated as swiftly as possible,” she added.

“Aside from the threat to life, leaseholders have often also had to deal with their buildings being uninsurable and being unable to sell/re-mortgage their properties.

“Industry data suggests that some 4,329 buildings in the mid-rise category need to be remediated, and many more in the high-rise category.

“On any measure this is a colossal undertaking for the sector and unsurprisingly has become a large and growing part of our practice.”

Temple Bright was launched in Bristol in 2010 using a tech-enabled, streamlined business model. It opened its second office in London EC2 in 2013 and now has more than 70 partners, evenly spread across the two locations.

The firm advises clients ranging from start-ups to PLCs across a range of sectors, with significant expertise in real estate and construction work.

This article appeared in the Bristol Business Newsletter on 28 June 2024.

Julia Davenport-Cooper
  • Construction & Engineering
  • Energy & Environment