What is the new Building Safety Bill and when will it become law?
The Building Safety Bill was set before Parliament on 5 July 2021. The Bill is one of the Government’s responses to the Hackett Report which investigated the potential causes of the Grenfell Tower fire and made recommendations for reform of the sector.
Some recommendations have already been implemented through the Fire Safety Act 2021, which amends the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 so that it covers all aspects of buildings with multiple dwellings.
What are the main changes proposed in the Building Safety Bill?
The Building Safety Bill will deliver a much tougher fire safety regime for high-rise residential buildings as well as higher standards for all building projects. These will likely come into force in 2023.
The HSE has already set up a Building Safety Regulator department in preparation for when it receives the authority for this role from the proposed legislation.
This regulator will have a wider role in overseeing the system of building control, which is likely to include creating a register of building safety inspectors who will be required to demonstrate competency in the role and follow tighter rules.
There will be a register of high-rise residential buildings in England and each one will require a safety case to gain a building assurance certificate.
Occupation of a building will only be permitted if there is a certificate, which will be valid for five years. There will also be a requirement to appoint an ‘Accountable Person’ for each high-rise building who will be responsible for the safety of the residents.
What happens next?
It is expected that the Building Safety Bill will receive Royal Assent after somewhere between nine and 12 months from its introduction (July 2021).
Following this, the various provisions are expected to come into force within two to 18 months after Royal Assent, dependent on the level of work involved.