It constitutes the Government’s response to the Grenfell fire, aimed at enhancing safety of buildings and will have a major impact for developers, property owners, contractors, construction professionals and insurers – essentially all involved with real estate and the construction industry.
The main headlines are:
- New building safety regulator to oversee the changes and promote safety in the construction industry.
- New building regulations to be introduced.
- Improvement in competence of building inspectors – 700 new inspectors to be recruited.
- Specific concentration on higher risk buildings (to be prescribed) and building safety risks relating to fire and structural stability.
- New duties for owners / developers, contractors and construction professionals during the planning and construction process.
- Introduction of three gateways during the planning and construction process, when building safety issues are to be addressed.
- Emphasis on information provision and document production / retention for individual properties relating to building safety risks.
- A new safety regime for the ongoing management of higher risk buildings, including new duties for owners, registration requirements, the need for a building safety certificate and the need to appoint a suitably qualified building safety manager to manage ongoing risk.
- Enhanced rights for residents to seek information and / or make complaints in relation to higher risk buildings.
- New sanctions to uphold building safety standards during construction including the issue of compliance and stop notices for ongoing works.
- Personal liability of directors and officers for breach.
Many in the construction industry are not convinced that the bill adequately addresses the issues unearthed by Grenfell, viewing it to be too administrative, too confusing and essentially introducing a two tier regime for prescribed higher risk buildings compared to that for other buildings, not deemed to be in that category. DWF is currently hosting a series of roundtables with sector leaders to discuss the bill, leading up to a headline seminar in September 2021 and the publication of a “white paper” to set out our findings. Please contact us if you would like to contribute to or participate in this process.
Leaving that aside, it is essential that those involved in the construction industry understand the extensive changes proposed along with the enhanced duties that will apply.
We are content to discuss with you how these will apply to your organisation or role. If you would like to find out more on the issues covered in the article, please contact Paul Dally, Ian Cooper or David McNeice.