building safety bill

What’s in the draft Building Safety Bill and what could it mean for the construction sector?

In July 2020, the UK Government published a draft Building Safety Bill which will likely have a profound effect on the construction and fire safety sectors.

The Bill is the government’s response to the recommendations made by Dame Judith Hackitt in her review of building safety following the Grenfell Tower fire in 2017.

That review exposed several serious failings in the current system and made recommendations for reforming it. The government accepted the review’s recommendation and addressed some of them through a Fire Safety Bill published earlier in 2020. This Building Safety Bill addresses the remainder of the recommendations.

A new national regulator for building safety?

The Bill proposes to carry out root and branch re-structuring of building safety regulations. Within the HSE a new national regulator for building safety will be formed.  It will oversee the safety of high-rise buildings (those over 18 metres or six storeys in height) and have new powers to raise and enforce better standards across all buildings.

All high-rise residential buildings in England will be listed on a register held with the new regulator and a safety case will be required to gain a building assurance certificate, which will be reviewed every five years.  Failure to comply with the conditions in the certificate will be a criminal offence.

New competency criteria for building inspectors?

The new building safety regulator will also have a wider remit in overseeing the building control system.  As part of this it will also hold a register of building inspectors who will be required to follow new stricter rules including meeting competency criteria.

It is highly likely that the proposals in this draft Bill will become law, although no timescale has been set for their implementation.  The construction and fire safety sector will be affected by these laws.  We will provide further updates when more detail is known.