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Building Safety Bill – Poacher / Gamekeeper or Collaborative H&S Culture?

22 March 2021
In our post Grenfell world the principles and recommendations for reform set out by Dame Judith Hackitt’s Independent Review of Building Regulations and Fire Safety have now been encapsulated in the draft Building Safety Bill published in July 2020.
Is this legislation going to be the solution to the ills of the construction industry exposed by the Hackitt review or does it have the potential to add burden and cost without the application of proportion and common sense?

Already Dame Hackitt has been critical of one output of the building safety agenda, namely the introduction of EWS1 forms resulting in misery for many building occupants, even where no fire risk exists.

The Bill includes the introduction into the construction of a new checking layer represented by the building safety managers under the control of a new body the Building Safety Regulator (BSR).

Where is this capability going to come from and will it represent the best relevant talent?

Anyone who has had the benefit of observing the H&S culture on Crossrail will have seen a core integration of a H&S culture in the project where the supply chain is rewarded for its innovations and improvements.

So why is the new Bill not adopting a similar approach, where the talent across the whole construction industry could be deployed for its greater good?

Imagine then my surprise when I read the head of the BSR in the press this week stating the new process will be outcome based and not just a tick box compliance exercise.

Sounds good?

Ah, but he then follows this up with "when the BSR comes to you, you may be in for a nasty surprise".

This Bill and the BSR needs to make up its mind. Does it want a culture of poacher / gamekeeper or does it want to incentivise and capture the best from the construction industry for societies' future safety?

If you require any further information, please contact Ian Cooper.

Further Reading