After three years and a high-profile public inquiry, the Government’s post-Grenfell Tower Building Safety Bill is here.

THE GOVERNMENT has published a draft of its Building Safety Bill which includes major regulatory changes to ensure that a tragedy such as Grenfell Tower can’t happen again. The Bill will introduce the role of a new Building Safety Regulator for towers blocks taller than 18 metres and will give residents more of a voice and power to challenge their building owners who take no action on safety issues. Leaseholders will also be protected from huge bills to pay for safety work. Residents have helped to develop the safety proposals and will also have better access to safety information about their building and will benefit from a swift and effective complaints process.

Housing secretary Robert Jenrick said: “This is a significant milestone on our journey to fundamentally improving building safety and delivering real change that will keep people safer in their homes. “I remain committed to making sure we get this right, which is why I will be publishing the draft bill for scrutiny and improvement before it is introduced in Parliament.


“I am also calling on the industry to actively prepare for these changes now. It is vital that the sector moves in step with us, to provide confidence and reassurance to residents that their safety is firmly at the heart of everything we do.”

Dame Judith Hackitt, whose review of building regulations and fire safety for the government was set-up in the wake of Grenfell, said the draft Building Safety Bill “meets the ambitions and recommendations” in her report. The government said the legislation will evolve as further safety risks are identified, while the 18m threshold for new rules contained within it will be kept under review.

It will also publish a new manual to building regulations, containing all approved documents guidance. The Construction Products Association’s Chief Executive, Peter Caplehorn, has responded to the publication of the draft Building Safety Bill. He said: “This is a significant moment for the construction industry which sets out a legal framework for reforms that will impact the entire supply

chain, including manufacturers. The industry and public has been awaiting this primary legislation since the government gave its backing to the principles and recommendations of the Dame Judith Hackitt Review.

“The Act’s commitment to a Building Safety Regulator with powers to oversee and enforce a new, more rigorous building safety system as well as and a new regulatory regime for construction products, gives the construction industry a clear sense that change is coming. “I’m confident that product manufacturers are well prepared for the changes ahead. CPA and its members have been engaged in a huge amount of ‘behind the scenes’ work since the publication of the Hackitt Review, helping to drive culture change in the industry around competence and compliance. This anticipatory preparation will serve industry well as the government consults on these legislative and regulatory changes.

“The CPA and its members will be paying close attention to the Bill’s details, particularly around

the new national regulator for construction products and changes to the Building Act. We will actively engage and consult to help ensure manufacturers play their part in ensuring the safety of residents in higher risk buildings.” Nigel Morrey, technical director at Etex Building Performance, said: “The Bill sets out an important framework for the regulation of construction products. Of course, the real test of practical and cultural change in the industry will come in the detail of its application. “While the Bill mandates for tighter control of individual product performance, clients, architects, specifiers and contractors also need to think about how materials work together – building safety is dependent upon how products perform together as part of a wider materials system. Building materials providers should clearly communicate this safety information by setting out full guidance on product application within systems, as well as be able to provide information on product traceability and manufacturing standards. We look forward to more information in due course.” BMJ August 2020

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