Building safety bill finally begins to pass


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Legislation brought through issues arising from the 2017 Grenfell Tower fire Historic Building Safety Bill was presented to Parliament today, Monday 5 July 2021, to implement some of the recommendations of the Hackitt Review following the 2017 Grenfell Tower Fire. The government promised the legislation in the Queen’s address in October 2019, before the Covid-19 pandemic. A bill was posted in July 2020 for initial scrutiny and comment. This is now again with some revisions. The proposed legislation now making its way through Parliament seeks primarily to create a building safety regulator – introducing a new system for the construction and management of tall buildings – as well as a New Home Ombudsman and Building Products Regulator. The Building Safety Regulator will oversee the new system and will be responsible for ensuring that any building safety risks in new and existing apartment buildings over 18 meters are effectively managed and resolved. This 18-meter threshold will likely be challenged as the legislation passes through Parliament, with amendments almost certainly proposed seeking to lower it. The draft legislation is designed to solidify the concept of a “golden thread” of information generated, stored and updated throughout the building’s life cycle – including design, construction and delivery – to ensure that residents’ safety is considered at every stage. The reforms are based on building a safer future, Dame Judith Hackett’s review of building regulations and fire safety, published in August 2018, which highlighted the need for significant cultural and organizational change. Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick said: “This bill will ensure high standards of safety for people’s homes, particularly tall buildings, with a new regulator providing essential oversight at every stage of a building’s life cycle, from design, construction and completion to occupation.” New building safety is a proportional system, ensuring that buildings requiring repair reach an acceptable level of safety quickly, and reassuring the vast majority of residents and tenants in those buildings that their homes are safe.” Under the revised proposals, the government doubles the amount of time, from six to 15 years, that Residents can claim compensation for substandard construction. Changes will be applied retroactively. This means that residents of a building completed in 2010 will be able to sue the developer until 2025. These reforms also include new procedures that apply to those seeking For compensation for poor renovations.The bill would include powers to strengthen the building products regulatory framework, led by the Office of Product Safety and Standards (OPSS).Developers would also be required to join the New Scheme. Homes Ombudsman, which will require them to provide compensation to the home buyer, including through compensation awards. Developers who violate the New Homes Ombudsman affiliation requirement may receive additional penalties. Building and Fire Safety Minister Lord Greenhalgh said: “While the overall fire risk for all buildings remains low, we cannot be complacent – a more robust system will take a proportionate and risk-based approach to remedial and other safety risks.” With our enforcement measures, we will make sure the industry follows the rules – and will be held accountable when they don’t.” Ms. Judith Hackett, Chair of the Independent Review, said: “I am delighted that we have reached this important milestone in relation to the Building Safety Act. It is critical that we focus on making the system fit for the future and setting new standards for building safety. “Residents and other stakeholders need to have their confidence in the restoration of high-rise buildings and those implementing such projects must be held accountable for delivering safe buildings.” Do you have a story? Email [email protected]


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