Building Safety Bill Receives Royal Assent Becoming Law

The Government’s Building Safety Bill, first announced in draft form in July 2020, is the next ‘key step in an extensive overhaul to building safety legislation’ according to then-Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick

The bill has gone through many debates and amendments since the tragic Grenfell fire on 14 June 2017. Among its aims are to provide more guidelines of building safety & provide more protection for leaseholders

The reforms laid out in the Bill are designed to create a ‘lasting generational change and a clear pathway for the future on how residential buildings should be constructed and maintained.’ Now with the completion of the parliamentary stages in the House of Commons and the House of Lords, the Building Safety Bill has now received Royal Assent, making the Bill an Act of Parliament

In the wake of the Grenfell tragedy, the Bill has introduced clear accountabilities for all those involved in the construction, maintenance & repair of high-risk buildings in England but there is much further work to do in order for the changes in the Act to be implemented

The Bill’s comprehensive reform to building safety legislation will include the appointment of a Building Safety Regulator who will ensure those living in high rise buildings are kept safe. This new Building Safety Regulator will be at the heart of the reforms. Held within the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), it will be responsible for overseeing the “safety and performance of all buildings”.

The three broad functions of the Building Safety Regulator will be to:

  • “Implement the new, more stringent regulatory regime for higher-risk buildings”
  • “Oversee the safety and performance of all buildings”
  • “Assist and encourage competence among the built environment industry, and registered building inspectors.

A Department for Levelling Up spokesperson said:  “This is an important milestone for the building industry – as we introduce a tough new regime to make homes safe and help rid the sector of bad practice once and for all

“Leaseholders will for the first time be legally protected from the cost of fixing historical safety defects, as building owners will be prevented from passing these bills onto them.”

The spokesperson added that the largest developers had agreed to “play their part in solving this” but the Levelling Up Secretary of State Michael Gove said it “does not end here” and insisted the government would use new powers against those who fail to act”

With this Act now law, Developers will need to look at how they procure higher risk projects and what effect this Act will have on these developments and their additional obligations. Similarly, Contractors and Consultants need to understand their additional obligations not only on large higher risk projects, but also on construction works generally where they will hold specific duties

The Bill also includes the requirement for the creation and maintenance of “a golden thread of information”. The intention is to ensure that the right people have the right information at the right time to ensure buildings are safe and building safety risks are managed throughout the building’s lifecycle.

Andrew Bulmer, CEO of The Property Institute, reflected on this legislation saying “The initial draft bill was a first step in the right direction towards alleviating residents’ fears over unsafe cladding by ensuring accountability for the safe upkeep of higher-risk buildings, whilst granting residents complete oversight of their own building’s compliance. In its current form, as law, it is a clear call for those in the sector, including property managers, developers & landlords, to work together to identify, mitigate and manage risks to residents.

“We are pleased that policymakers have listened to key suggestions from ARMA, IRPM & other industry bodies to improve how the new regime will work in practice. We will continue to work collaboratively to ensure the new Act can become the robust safety net which the industry has been striving for following the Grenfell tragedy.

“However, despite the progress made there is still a mountain to climb, and we are several years away from remediating all unsafe buildings. We are waiting to see whether developers who have signed the Government’s pledge will remain true to their word and pay to fix these buildings, whether they do so to the right standard, and we also need a solution from Government for those buildings with no existing developer.

“The daily strain on leaseholders, resident directors & property managers in affected buildings is extremely concerning. During the transition phase therefore, we will continue our efforts to ensure that the regulations and implementation of the Act is proportionate and practical, to avoid unnecessary delays.”

If you have any questions please don’t hesitate to reach out to our resident management team


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