Building Safety Bill introduced to Parliament

Building Safety Bill introduced to Parliament

Yesterday saw the Building Safety Bill introduced to Parliament, a key step in the promised overhaul of the building safety regime for England.

A Government summary of the measures being introduced describe the objectives of the legislation as follows:

  • Ensure there are clearly identified people responsible for safety during the design, build and occupation of a high-rise (18m/7 storeys and above) residential building.
  • Establish a Building Safety Regulator to hold to account those who break the rules and are not properly managing building safety risks, including taking enforcement action where needed.
  • Give residents in these buildings more routes to raise concerns about safety, and mechanisms to ensure their concerns will be heard and taken seriously.   
  • Extend rights to compensation for substandard workmanship and unacceptable defects.    
  • Drive the culture change needed across the industry to enable the design and construction of high-quality, safe homes in the years to come

What this means for residents  

  • Residents in high-rise buildings will be safer in their homes and have more say in the management of their building. 
  • They will be able to raise building safety concerns directly to the owners and managers of buildings, who will have a duty to listen to them.   
  • If residents feel concerns are being ignored, they can raise them directly with the Building Safety Regulator.
  • All homeowners, including leaseholders will also have more than twice the amount of time, from six to fifteen years, to claim compensation for sub-standard construction work.      
  • This will apply retrospectively – meaning that properties built up to 15 years prior to this change coming into effect will be able to bring a claim for compensation for defective work. 
  • The Bill also contains measures to protect leaseholders by providing a legal requirement for building owners to explore alternative ways to meet the costs of remediation works before passing these onto leaseholders, along with evidence that this has been done.

What this means for building owners 

  • Building owners will be required to actively manage safety risks, including gateway points at design, construction and completion. 
  • This will ensure that safety is considered at each and every stage of a building’s construction, with fire safety risks considered at the earliest stage of the planning process.      
  • They will also have to ensure that residents are able to raise concerns about safety and that any concerns are listened to. 
  • Those who don’t meet their obligations may face criminal charges.

What does this mean for the built environment industry? 

  • The more stringent regime will provide a clear, proportionate framework for the industry to deliver safe, high-quality homes.
  • Its focus on risk will also help owners manage their buildings safely for residents.   
  • Oversight of the construction sector will be strengthened, with new requirements to make sure construction products are safe for their intended use, supporting the industry to raise its own standards to be held to.
  • A new developer tax, and a levy on developers seeking permission for certain high-rise buildings in England are also being introduced, so that industry is made to contribute to right the wrongs of the past.

Additional resources released by Government are set out below:

Press Notice

The Building Safety Bill

Building Safety Factsheets

Government response to the pre-legislative scrutiny of the Building Safety Bill

One page explainer for Building Safety Bill

TAROE Trust would welcome feedback from tenants and residents on the subject of the Building Safety Bill.