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Housing Secretary announces Building Safety reforms 09/04/2020 Labelled as Development, Legislation

Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick on 2 April 2020 announced the next steps to further reform the Building Safety system to ensure residents are safe in their homes.


The announcement was made in response to the earlier consultation "Building a Safer Future" issued in June 2019 and the new measures announced on 2 April include mandatory sprinkler systems and consistent wayfinding signage in all new high-rise blocks of flats over 11 metres tall.


The Government will legislate for the new reforms through the Building Safety Bill announced in the Queen's Speech in December last year.


The Government has also appointed construction expert, David Hancock, to review the progress of removing unsafe ACM claddings from buildings. The Government says the reforms are designed to incentivise compliance and to better enable the use of enforcement powers and sanctions, including prosecution where the rules are not followed. This announcement follows an earlier announcement of the intention to create a new, national Building Safety Regulator, which is already being established in shadow form by the Health and Safety Executive.


The latest non-ACM (aluminium composite material) cladding testing results were also published alongside the announcement and show that none of the materials tested, including high-pressure laminate (HPL) and timber cladding, behaved in the same way as ACM.


The Government says that any unsafe materials should be removed from buildings quickly. External wall systems on high-rise buildings using Class C or D HPL panels are unsafe and should be removed as they do not comply with building regulations.


The Government says that they recognise the challenges presented to the building industry by the coronavirus outbreak but stress that the work to remove unsafe cladding from buildings is critical to public safety and so remains a top priority and they want to ensure that remediation work continues where it is safe to do so. The Government has also made it clear that vital maintenance and repair work can continue to take place in line with public health guidance.


Further information is set out in a letter from the Secretary of State to Members of Parliament.

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