New Building Safety Bill for 2020

Although it has taken a lot of time to get here, we now seem to be on the verge of new Building Safety legislation.

The government says the Building Safety Bill will

“place new and enhanced regulatory regimes for building safety and construction products, and ensure residents have a stronger voice in the system”

The Bill, fuelled by the fire in Grenfell Tower, sets out to “learn the lessons” of the tragedy and strengthen “the whole regulatory system for building safety, including fundamental changes to the regulatory framework for high-rise residential buildings”. One aim of the Bill is to prompt a change in “industry culture to ensure accountability and responsibility and ensuring residents are safe in their homes”.

The main elements would be:

  • An enhanced safety framework for high-rise residential buildings, taking forward the recommendations from Dame Judith Hackitt’s independent review of building safety, and in some areas going further by:
    • Providing clearer accountability and stronger duties for those responsible for the safety of high-rise buildings throughout the building’s design, construction, and occupation, with clear competence requirements to maintain high standards
    • Giving residents a stronger voice in the system, ensuring their concerns are never ignored and they fully understand how they can contribute to maintaining safety in their buildings
    • Strengthening enforcement and sanctions to deter non-compliance with the new regime, hold the right people to account when mistakes are made, and ensure they are not repeated
    • Developing a new stronger and clearer framework to provide national oversight of construction products, to ensure all products meet high-performance standards
    • Developing a new system to oversee the whole built environment, with local enforcement agencies and national regulators working together to ensure that the safety of all buildings is improved
    • Legislating to require that developers of new-build homes must belong to a New Homes Ombudsman

It’s not here yet, but it should be before too long. There is also a Fire Safety Bill on the way …

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