Contractors launch new Building Safety Charter
Representatives from each of the Early Adopters with housing minister Kit Malthouse
Contractors including Kier, Wates and Willmott Dixon have launched a new Building Safety Charter in a call to raise the bar across the industry.
The firms, all of which are part of the Early Adopters Group, established last summer following Dame Judith Hackitt’s independent review of Building Regulations and fire safety, signed the Charter during its unveiling in London today (6 June), where it was backed by the housing minister, Kit Malthouse.
The Charter has been developed by industry leaders and came as the government launched its consultation with the sector and residents into proposals for a new building safety regime – Building a Safer Future – following Dame Judith’s review.
It is intended to spearhead a culture change in the industry by motivating the sector to prioritise residents’ safety at every stage of a building’s lifespan.
All organisations involved in the design, construction, management, refurbishment and occupation of homes and buildings can now view and register their interest in the Charter on the Building a Safer Future website. They will have the opportunity to sign up when the Charter is launched formally later this year.
Barratt Developments, Kier, United Living, Wates and Willmott Dixon, along with housing associations L&Q, Peabody and Salix Homes, who make up the Early Adopters Group, have been trialling new systems and ways of working in advance of any proposed changes to legislation.
Examples of work the group has taken forward include testing how residents and contractors can report building faults in a confidential, no-blame process.
It has also been looking at how the creation and management of digitalised building information can be improved, as well as the development of a new approval process for specific phases of the design, construction and maintenance of high-rise and complex buildings to ensure their safety.
Malthouse said: “We established the Early Adopters Group last year as part of sweeping reforms to make sure the building industry prioritises residents’ safety and creates a real culture change as we look to rebuild this sector.
“This group has become integral in helping prepare the industry for our future reforms and this new Charter is an important step in making sure that the safety of residents is considered the highest priority at all stages of the building process.
“I encourage everyone involved in the industry to sign up and back this important pledge.”
A spokesman for the Early Adopters Group said: “For the past year, the Early Adopters Group has been working closely with the government to identify and test new ways of working, which will spearhead a culture change in the building industry and wider sector to put the safety of residents first.
“The crucial lesson for our industry is that we have a collective responsibility to safeguard the people living in our buildings and ensure they are safe places to live, both now and in the future.
“The new Building Safety Charter will help pave the way for real change within our sector, and the Early Adopters Group is very pleased to be the first to sign it, demonstrating our continued commitment to putting safety first.”