In this section:

Government publish a draft Building Safety Bill 30/07/2020 Labelled as Scrutiny, Legislation

Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick made a written statement to Parliament on 20 July 2020 introducing the new Building Safety Bill in draft form for consultation.


The Building Safety Bill and accompanying explanatory notes comprise over 300 pages and because of the complexity of the Bill, it is being published in a draft form to enable consultation and scrutiny before the Bill is formally introduced to Parliament.


The draft Building Safety Bill will be examined by a Parliamentary committee who will report with feedback and recommendations before the Bill is finalised and the Government say they will also work with stakeholders on areas that need refinement or further consultation to finalise measures.


The Bill will then be introduced formally in the House of Commons or the House of Lords. If it progresses through all stages in Parliament, the Bill will then be presented for Royal Assent before it becomes an Act and the powers come into force.


Following the Grenfell fire, the draft Building Safety Bill, taken together with the Fire Safety Bill currently going through Parliament, and an accompanying Fire Safety Order consultation is intended to improve safety standards for residents of all blocks of flats of all heights, with even more stringent approaches and oversight for those buildings within scope of the legislation.  


For residents, the Bill will require that there will be someone (called the Accountable Person) responsible for keeping residents safe in high rise buildings of 18 metres and above. The Accountable Person will have to listen and respond to residents' concerns and ensure their voices are heard.


Residents and leaseholders will have access to safety information about their building and new complaints handling requirements will be introduced to make sure effective action is taken where concerns are raised.


To oversee the new duties on building owners and landlords and to make sure that the Accountable Persons are carrying out their duties properly, there will also be a new national regulator for building safety, within the Health and Safety Executive (HSE).


The new national Building Safety Regulator will have new powers to raise and enforce these new higher standards of safety and performance across all buildings. The regulator will appoint a panel of residents who will have a voice in the development of its work.


For the construction industry and owners and landlords, the draft Bill is intended to ensure that those responsible for the safety of residents are accountable for any mistakes and must put them right. The new Building Safety Regulator will have extensive powers to enforce the new rules and take action against those who break them.


The regulator will have 3 main functions:


  • To oversee the safety and standard of all buildings,
  • To directly assure the safety of higher-risk buildings; and
  • Improve the competence of people responsible for managing and overseeing building work. 


It will operate a new, more stringent set of rules for high-rise residential buildings. The new set of rules, contained in the draft Bill, will apply when buildings are designed, constructed and then later occupied. At each of these 3 stages, it will be clear who is responsible for managing the potential risks and what is required to move to the next stage enabling a 'golden thread' of vital information about the building to be gathered over its lifetime.


When residents move into a building that falls under the new set of rules, the building will need to be registered with the Building Safety Regulator and apply for a Building Assurance Certificate. The Accountable Person will need to conduct and maintain a safety case risk assessment for the building and appoint a Building Safety Manager to oversee it day to day. 


Building inspectors who are responsible for signing buildings off as safe for people to live in will also have to follow the new rules and must register with the regulator.


The draft Bill will also give the Government new powers to better regulate construction materials and products and ensure they are safe to use.


Alongside the draft Building Safety Bill; the Government have launched a second document - the Fire Safety Consultation, published by the Home Office.


Taken together, measures in the draft Building Safety Bill, the Fire Safety Bill, and the Fire Safety Order will improve safety standards for residents of all blocks of flats of all heights, not just high-rise buildings.


To summarise:


The draft Building Safety Bill:

  • Strengthens the whole regulatory system for building safety; ensuring greater accountability and responsibility for fire and structural safety issues throughout the entire lifecycle of buildings (design, construction, and occupation) within the scope of a more stringent regime.  
  • Puts residents at the heart of the new regime, with a stronger voice and better access to safety information about their building, including a streamlined complaints process. 
  • Applies a new more stringent regime to all multi-occupied residential buildings of 18m or more in height or more than six storeys (whichever is reached first) and its scope can expand to other multi-occupied buildings if the evidence base suggests it should.  
  • Protects the rights of homebuyers and holds developers to account, with a requirement that developers of new build housing belong to a New Homes Ombudsman to plug a gap in consumer protection and help purchasers resolve the issues they find with their new homes.   


A copy of the draft Building Safety Bill can be downloaded from the Parliamentary website


The Fire Safety Consultation:

  • Seeks to strengthen the existing Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 and improve compliance for all regulated buildings.
  • Implements the Grenfell Tower Inquiry Phase 1 report recommendations for multi-occupied residential buildings which require a change in law.
  • Seeks views on the effectiveness of the arrangements for consultation and information sharing between building control bodies and fire and rescue authorities in relation to building work - alongside an overhaul the Fire Safety Order's supporting guidance.  


A copy of the Fire Safety Consultation can be downloaded from the Government website


The Building Safety Regulator

  • Established by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) the new Regulator will be responsible for overseeing the new regime for buildings in scope (18m and above or 6 storeys and above, whichever threshold is reached first).
  • Over the last six months the HSE has appointed lead Directors tasked with creating the new regulator, developing new guidance and ensuring readiness for the new system.
  • The HSE will also begin recruitment of the first national Chief Inspector of Buildings. 


ARCH response to the draft Bill

ARCH has been in discussion with officials from the Housing Ministry and will continue to engage with officials as the Bill undergoes scrutiny over the coming months, before it is introduced to Parliament.

Like emailLink
ARCH Member Comments 0 people like this