Grenfell’s Impact on Construction Law and What It Means for You

During the latest heatwaves, developers, management associations, contractors and residents have all been concerned about fire risks, especially after the Grenfell Tower fire in 2017. We look at a recent case and how it impacts you.

The recent case of Martlet Homes Ltd v Mulalley & Co Ltd, is the first of many post-Grenfell fire cladding cost cases and its final ruling sets an interesting precedent for future cladding claims.

In this case, the claimant (Martlet Homes Ltd), as the owner of five Gosport tower blocks, sought £8 million in damages from the defendant, and building contractor, (Mulalley & Co Ltd), for the costs of investigating, and replacing, faulty fire safety equipment and potentially dangerous cladding.

The defendant fitted a cladding system (StoTherm Classic), which consists mostly of expanded polystyrene boards. This cladding, when incorrectly fitted, can pose a fire risk to both the building’s integrity and to the safety of residents.

After the events at the Grenfell Tower, the claimant checked their five buildings for faults and found unsafe cladding and that the horizontal fire stoppers on each floor had been installed incorrectly. They chose to sue the defendant over this for a breach of the building regulations.

While the defendant agreed that there were issues with the fitting of the cladding, they argued that simple repairs could have been done instead of a total replacement. The claimant then made the point that they were entitled to the full amount as the cladding didn’t meet fire safety standards even at the time of installation, and that the requested £8million was less than the cost of repair.

The Judge decided to give the claimant the £8 million in damages to cover costs of replacing the faulty work and waking watch.

This is a win for developers and flat owners. But, as the judge stressed, the outcome each case will depend upon its own facts. In this case, the most important points to consider are:

  • The faulty installation of the cladding system was a breach of the Building Regulations.
  • The cladding, even if correctly installed, would not have complied with the Building Regulations.
  • A Contractor cannot rely on a BBA Certificate (British Board of Agremont) as conclusive evidence of compliance with Building Regulations.
  • BS-8414 and BR135 test passes will, in most cases, be considered as proof of compliance with the Building Regulations.

The decision also covered the following:

  • The cost of a waking watch is a recoverable cost against a Contractor who supplies defective cladding, within reason.
  • It is important for contractors to keep supply chain records and that their suppliers have the necessary certificates and can provide the same.

We don’t think this is the last we will hear on this subject in court, but this case provides many useful points for guidance in future cases. If you are a Developer, Contractor, Management Association, Resident or a homeowner interested in this, or any other matter of construction or property law problem, Baron Grey would be happy to advise and welcome you to contact the team at Baron Grey Solicitors on 020 8891 4311

Get in touch

If you would like us to call you, please click through to complete our contact form and one of our solicitors will be delighted to call you back.

David Thorley


David works on civil litigation with a particular interest in disputes arising from wills, probate and trusts. Beyond this, he has experience with claims in a range of fields including: employment; property/landlord and tenant; company law/insolvency; construction; and debt recovery.

David qualified as a solicitor in 2022 having previously worked in academia and journalism. This background has given him a clear-sighted perspective on the cases he handles, a ready appreciation of the complex issues at stake, and a pragmatic approach to advising clients.

Chris Wright


Chris initially qualified and practiced at the Bar for several years before going into industry with two major UK construction and engineering companies. He left this position to become a senior partner at a law firm where he handled a range of domestic and international construction and engineering law matters. He was an Adjudicator on the TeCSA panel, and acted as a reviewer for the FIDIC White Book Conditions. He has contributed to a text book on BIM and Quantity Surveying. 

Chris remains a member of the Society of Construction Law where he brings his experience as a consultant on construction law matters. He is also a practising Mediator and Arbitrator, being both an FCIArb and an Associate of the Civil Mediation Council.

Peter Arnstein


Peter qualified as a solicitor following his training with a firm on Richmond Green and has since worked with firms on both sides of the river. Initially specialising in criminal law and dispute resolution, he later brought the forensic skills he had acquired to residential and commercial conveyancing, Wills and Probate. His approach in acting for clients has always been to look for problems and offer solutions.  

Peter is delighted to have now joined Baron Grey where he continues to look after clients old and new, seeking to provide an approachable and professional service to all.

Contact Us

Feel free to get in touch with us via phone or email, or complete the form and one of our solicitors will be delighted to call you back.

James Atkins

Associate Solicitor

James is a private client solicitor specialising in wills, trusts, powers of attorney and estate administration. He graduated from the University of Glasgow with a degree in English Literature in 2013 and went on to complete his law conversion course at BPP University. 

James trained at Baron Grey and after a sabbatical in Russia has recently re-joined the firm. James has a very friendly and approachable manner and is an asset to Baron Grey.

Lara Symons


Lara Symons qualified as a solicitor in 1997 and has specialised in all aspects of Immigration Law since then. Lara was formally the head of the Immigration Appeals Team at White Ryland Solicitors in Shepherds Bush, before moving to Spain for four years with her family.

Lara joined Baron Grey in 2013 and now works for the firm dealing with a wide range of immigration and probate matters.

Minnie Waite


Minnie Waite joined Baron Grey in 2017 as a conveyancer having worked in the City for many years.

She has over 20 years’ experience in dealing with all aspects of conveyancing transactions and has studied the License Conveyancing course. Minnie specialises in freehold/leasehold, enfranchisement, has some commercial experience and advises on mortgages.

She is extremely approachable and friendly and a great addition to the Baron Grey team.

Ben Hall

Solicitor Advocate

Ben Hall is an experienced solicitor who re-joined Baron Grey solicitors in early 2018, having originally trained under Vincent in 2006.

Ben specialises in criminal defence work and regularly represents clients from the investigatory stage all the way through to the Crown Court and Court of Appeal, where he has had notable success.

Ben has expanded his practice into civil litigation with a particular emphasis on commercial and probate disputes.

Emma Faulkner


After being awarded a 2:1 degree in Law from the University of Reading, Emma joined Baron Grey in 2012. Since then, she has successfully completed the Legal Practice Course part-time obtaining a Distinction, and qualifying as a solicitor in February 2016.

Emma assists the litigation team and specialises in Family Law, including divorce and financial proceedings. Emma also deals with the niche area of Private Client Law concerning Lasting Powers of Attorney. She follows the footsteps of her grandfather who worked for Baron Grey as a senior legal assistant.

Vincent Hambleton-Grey


After graduating in Law in London, Vincent joined the firm in 1990 as a newly qualified solicitor. He specialises in litigation and company commercial work as well as employment and matrimonial matters. 

He is passionate about representing those who do not always have a fair voice in the community and his clients vary from local people to many small businesses in the area. Whenever possible, Vincent’s aim is always to meet and discuss matters with all new clients personally first. 

Born in Swansea, South Wales, he moved to London as an undergraduate and has lived in Twickenham since 1994. He is married with two daughters.