The government has announced that a new national Chief Inspector of Buildings, who will oversee critical reforms and police safety, is to be appointed this year. The new role has been created following the Grenfell disaster.
The government is promising the following changes:
New laws to bring the biggest improvements to building safety for a generation
A regulator to raise standards, enforce new laws and give louder voice to residents so building owners ensure their safety
A fire safety consultation seeking views on proposals to implement recommendations from the Grenfell Tower Inquiry and strengthen Fire Safety Order
Back in January, Advantage wrote about the initial new fire safety checks being rolled out for apartment blocks. However, further regulations and safety measures were, of course, always on the cards.
As reported by Construction Enquirer: Today (20th July 2020) the government will begin what it describes as the biggest set of changes to building safety for nearly 40 years with the publication of its draft Building Safety Bill.
It will also formally invite applications from the end of July for the £1bn Building Safety Fund, to remove unsafe non-ACM cladding from buildings
More than 700 pre-registration forms have already been received.
The draft Bill will enforce a new, more stringent set of rules that will apply for buildings of 18 metres or more or taller than six storeys from the design phase to occupation.
Advantage took a look at the government’s view of the draft Bill (which has been published via gov.uk) which is that it “will evolve as further evidence and risks are identified to ensure that residents’ safety is always prioritised and will also provide new powers to better regulate construction materials and products to ensure they are safe to use.”
Government expert Michael Wade has been asked to work with leaseholders, and the finance and insurance industries. He will test and recommend funding solutions to protect leaseholders from unaffordable costs of fixing historic defects, ensuring that the burden does not fall on tax payers. He will also develop proposals to address insurance issues around building safety.
The draft Bill includes a new ‘building safety charge’ to give leaseholders greater transparency around costs incurred in maintaining a safe building – with numerous powers deliberately included to limit the costs that can be re-charged to leaseholders.
Independent advisor and author of the Independent Review of Building Regulations and Fire Safety, Dame Judith Hackitt said:
“I welcome this draft Bill as an important milestone in delivering the fundamental reform this industry needs to make residents and buildings safer.
“It meets the ambitions and recommendations set out in my review.
“And industry must be in no doubt that it is not enough to wait for the Bill to become law before they implement changes; we expect them to start taking action now.”
To ensure that building owners are clear on which steps they need to take to ensure the building is safe, the government is also publishing a new Manual to the Building Regulations which contains all Approved Documents in one place.
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