The Building Safety Bill, published on July 5th 2021, has set out a clear pathway for the future of residential buildings – more specifically, how they should she constructed and maintained.
As a result of the new Bill, the Building Safety Regulator will now oversee the new regime and will be responsible for ensuring that any building safety risks in new and existing high rise residential buildings of 18m and above, are effectively managed and resolved, taking cost into account.
This will include implementing specific gateway points at design, construction and completion phases to ensure that safety is considered at each and every stage of a building’s construction, and safety risks are considered at the earliest stage of the planning process.
The government says that the measures in the Building Safety Bill will:
- Ensure there are clearly identified people responsible for safety during the design, build and occupation of a high-rise residential building.
- Establish a Building Safety Regulator to hold to account those who break the rules and are not properly managing building safety risks, including taking enforcement action where needed.
- Give residents in these buildings more routes to raise concerns about safety, and mechanisms to ensure their concerns will be heard and taken seriously.
- Extend rights to compensation for substandard workmanship and unacceptable defects.
- Drive the culture change needed across the industry to enable the design and construction of high-quality, safe homes in the years to come
Not only this, but the bill will also improve the regulatory frameworks for products used in construction, reinforced by market surveillance and enforcement regime leg nationally by the Office for Product Safety and Standards (OPSS)
The regulator will have the responsibility to remove materials and products from the market that are clear safety hazards as well as having the ability to prosecute or use civil penalties against any business that breaks the rules and puts the public’s safety at jeopardy
The bill is influenced by the Hackitt report, published in May 2018. This report highlighted a need for significant cultural and regulatory change.
Robert Jenrick, the Housing Secretary, said: “This Bill will ensure high standards of safety for people’s homes, and in particular for high rise buildings, with a new regulator providing essential oversight at every stage of a building’s lifecycle, from design, construction, completion to occupation.
“The new building safety regime will be a proportionate one, ensuring those buildings requiring remediation are brought to an acceptable standard of safety swiftly, and reassuring the vast majority of residents and leaseholders in those buildings that their homes are safe.”
The creation of this bill has come as a result of the Grenfell Tower disaster where 27 people lost their lives as a result of a small fire which quickly engulphed the whole building. A review of the tower block safety was launched after the fire and it was discovered that the cladding of the building was a cheaper, more flammable version which was chosen ‘to save money’ according to leaked emails by The Times
For more information about the bill, head to https://www.gov.uk/government/news/new-regulator-at-heart-of-building-safety-overhaul