At the end of July the Government published its draft ‘Building Safety Bill’ (the “Bill”) which housing secretary Robert Jenrick has described as the “biggest improvements to building safety in nearly 40 years”.
The Bill implements the recommendations in Dame Judith Hackitt’s report following the Grenfell Tower fire of June 2017 and aims to improve building and fire safety in higher-risk buildings (buildings of 18 meters and above ground level or six storeys). The Bill is the next step in the implementation of key parts of the government’s Building a Safer Future policy. The Bill not only relates to the construction of buildings but also their occupation to ensure the on-going safety of occupiers as the building grows older or is modified over time.
The measures will have far reaching consequences for those that build, own, occupy and mange high risk buildings. Our Construction and Real Estate Team have put together a detailed guide to support your business, download government Draft Safety Bill: Essential Updates.
Over the coming months it remains to be seen how quickly the construction industry responds to ensure compliance with substantial amounts of new laws, rules and regulations covering fire safety. Similarly, many social landlords, building owners and leaseholders are unsure about their potential liabilities around the substantial cost of removing combustible cladding and other unsafe materials – with many residents unable to move from homes that can’t be sold. The need to speed up the remediation and certification to ensure the safety of high-rise buildings could not be more obvious, but substantial hurdles remain and the draft Bill is just one small step in achieving this ultimate goal.