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Government introduces controversial Building Safety Bill today in Parliament

The legislation, which has to be approved by MPs, will bring in far-reaching changes to the way residential towers are built and managed.

Nigel Lewis

robert jenrick safety bill

The government is introducing Building Safety Bill in Parliament today that will usher in far-reaching reforms for the way residential towers are built and managed.

Its architect, housing secretary Robert Jenrick (pictured, above) was on the BBC’s Andrew Marr show yesterday to herald the bill, during which he denied that it is a watering down of promises to get tough on building safety.

One expected reform that will soon become a reality is the creation of a Building Safety Regulator which will oversee a tougher supervision system.

This will include ensuring that any building safety risks in new and existing high rise residential buildings of 18m and above are ‘effectively managed and resolved, taking cost into account’.

Greater voice

The bill is heavily influenced by the Hackitt report published in May 2018, including its recommendations to give leaseholders a greater voice in how towers are run, and more severe penalties for property managers and repair firms who put residents at risk.

Also, better documentation and information management throughout the lifecycle of a building will be required, and a ‘responsible person’ will have to be named for each building. They will be deemed to be the person ‘in control’ of it.

“The new building safety regime will be a proportionate one, ensuring those buildings requiring remediation are brought to an acceptable standard of safety swiftly, and reassuring the vast majority of residents and leaseholders in those buildings that their homes are safe,” says Jenrick.

The bill also tackles compensation. The length of time claims can be made against developers increases from six to fifteen years and will be retrospective.

Also, freeholders must now ‘explore’ alternative ways to meet the costs of remediation rather than passing them on automatically to leaseholders, and prove they have done so.

Read more about building safety.

July 5, 2021

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