One of the best pieces of good news is the reform to building safety regulatory systems, much of which was instigated as a direct result of the Grenfell Tower disaster.
Announced on the 2nd April by the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government The Rt Hon Robert Jenrick MP and the Ministry of Housing, the new legislation is designed to put residents’ safety first. Part of the announcement of the unprecedented £1 billion fund for removing unsafe cladding from high-rise buildings in the Budget, while it takes the first steps toward the introduction of a robust Fire Safety Bill.
Why have changes been made to the building safety regulatory system?
The measures are designed to bring about the biggest changes to building safety for a whole generation. Coming in light of the Grenfell Tower tragedy, the Government committed itself to instigate an upgraded Building Safety Programme to ensure that existing buildings and those built in the future are safe for residents.
The new legislation recognises the huge risk caused by unsafe Aluminium Composite Material (ACM) cladding – as fitted to Grenfell Tower – and the Government have prioritised its removal from all multi-occupied residential buildings over 18 metres high, to prevent such a tragedy occurring again.
The new building safety regulatory document has been devised for several clear reasons, including;
- To create a more effective regulatory and accountability framework to provide greater oversight of the building industry.
- To introduce clearer standards and guidance.
- To put residents at the heart of a new system of building safety for buildings in scope, and empowering them with more information, engaging them on how risks are managed in their building and ensuring effective routes for raising and escalating safety concerns, and
- To help to create a culture change and a more responsible building industry, from design, through to construction, management and refurbishment.
What does the Reformed Building Safety Regulatory System document set out?
The document sets out how the Building Safety Regulator will oversee a number of functions in the process, and work with industry experts to ensure that architects are getting the best and most relevant advice on the latest building systems and structures. In this way, building designers will have far more accountability, and problems such as Grenfell Tower are unlikely to recur.
The new rules follow a rigorous approach to the design process, and ensures that so-called duty holders are accountable during and after the whole project.
Duty holders include the client, the principal designer, the principal contractor, attached designers and contractors.
The idea is to make the entire building design and construction process completely accountable and to build safety absolute.
The standard also calls for a three gateway points at which the whole scheme will be examined in tandem with National Fire Chiefs Council, Joint Regulators Group, Early Adopters Group and local planning authorities to ensure that everyone with a stake in the building is completely happy with it.
The new standard will set out new rules that aim to make the construction process far more robust and safer for all concerned, and that is good news for everyone.