New regulator at heart of building safety overhaul

July 14, 2021

The Building Safety Bill has set out a clear pathway for the future on how residential buildings should be constructed and maintained, the government announced earlier this month.

The Bill was published on 5 July and aims to create ‘lasting generational change and set out a clear pathway for the future on how residential buildings should be constructed and maintained.’

The next key step, outlined by Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick, aims to give residents more power to hold builders and developers to account and toughening sanctions against those who threaten their safety is the next key step in an extensive overhaul to building safety legislation.

The Building Safety Regulator will 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.

 

Obligations

These changes will simplify the existing system to ensure high standards are continuously met, with a ‘golden thread’ of information created, stored and updated throughout the building’s lifecycle, establishing clear obligations on owners and enabling swift action to be taken by the regulator, wherever necessary.

The reforms will tackle bad practice head on, building on Dame Judith Hackitt’s review of Building Regulations and Fire Safety, which highlighted a need for significant cultural and regulatory change.

Under the proposals, the government is more than doubling the amount of time that residents can seek compensation for substandard construction work – from 6 to 15 years.

The changes will apply retrospectively. This means that residents of a building completed in 2010 would be able to bring proceedings against the developer until 2025.

These reforms also include new measures that will apply to those seeking compensation for shoddy refurbishments which make the home unliveable.

These new measures in the Building Safety will aim to:

The Bill will include powers to strengthen the regulatory framework for construction products, underpinned by a market surveillance and enforcement regime led nationally by the Office for Product Safety and Standards (OPSS).

The national regulator will be able to remove products from the market that present safety risks and prosecute or use civil penalties against any business that breaks the rules and compromises public safety.

 

Funding for remediation

The Bill also contains measures to protect leaseholders by providing a legal requirement for building owners to explore alternative ways to meet remediation costs before passing these onto leaseholders, along with evidence that this has been done.

This builds on the government’s commitment to fully fund the cost of replacing unsafe cladding for all leaseholders in residential buildings 18 metres and over in England, with an unprecedented £5 billion investment in building safety. This is alongside the introduction of a new levy and a tax to ensure that industry pays its fair share towards the costs of cladding remediation.

Developers will also be required to join and remain members of the New Homes Ombudsman scheme, which will require them to provide redress to a homebuyer, including through the awarding of compensation. Developers who breach the requirement to belong to the New Homes Ombudsman may receive additional sanctions.

 

This is valid as of 14th July 2021.

Do you understand the Fire and Building Safety Bills?Fire safety

If not, then our webinar is perfect for you. Our expert speakers discuss in detail what these bills mean for you and your business and how you can be best prepared for them.

You May Also Be Interested In

Subscribe
Notify of
0 Comments
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments