Following the tragic fire at Grenfell Tower in June 2017, the government committed to overhauling the building safety regulatory system, with the ambition of making new and existing buildings safer and minimising the risk of fire in high-rise buildings.
The government commissioned Dame Judith Hackitt to lead an Independent Review of Building Regulations and Fire Safety in July 2017. The review published its final report in May 2018, setting out more than 50 recommendations for the government on how to deliver a more robust regulatory system for the future.
The government used these recommendations to develop its draft proposals, which it put out to consultation from 6 June until 31 July 2019. We submitted a sector response to the Building a Safer Future consultation in July 2019.
In April 2020, the government published updated proposals, reflecting feedback gathered through the consultation. We summarised the proposals in a briefing for our members, including outlining where further detail or engagement is needed.
This was followed by the draft Building Safety Bill, published on 20 July 2020, which takes forward reforms to the building and fire safety system. We published two member briefings on the draft Bill – one that covers all proposed changes in the Bill, to both higher-risk buildings and to all building work, and a second that covers just the changes that will apply to all building work.
We have highlighted some of the key changes in the new system below, but would recommend reading our briefings for full details.
The proposals for the new building safety regulatory regime set out a stronger role for residents. This aims to ensure that residents’ voices are properly heard and listened to, and that they will be entitled to core information about building safety, with the right to request more detail as appropriate.
The government has also confirmed that there will be a new statutory duty on residents to cooperate with the Building Safety Manager, a new role whose responsibility will be for ensuring the safety of the building and its residents. As part of a building owner’s responsibility to develop a building’s safety case, they will need to develop and resource a resident engagement strategy.
We support the greater focus on resident engagement in the new regime, as this is a priority for our sector, including through our Together with Tenants work.
- Dame Judith Hackitt
The government has confirmed that it will establish a new national Building Safety Regulator within the Health and Safety Executive (HSE).
The new regulator will oversee the safe design, construction and occupation of high-risk buildings so that residents are safe and feel safe. It will be independent and give expert advice to local regulators, landlords and building owners, the construction and building design industry, and to residents.
The regulator will:
Steps to establish the new regulator are already being taken, led by Dame Judith Hackitt and in partnership with government departments and stakeholders.
In preparation for the new Building Safety Regulator, housing associations will need to consider:
We are working with our members to prepare for these new requirements, and engaging with the government to share any concerns.