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Building Safety Bill is ‘once in a generation’ opportunity

21 September 2020

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The construction industry must seize the “once in a generation opportunity for change” presented by the government’s Building Safety Bill.

That is the message from the CIOB with the bill expected to begin its passage through parliament this autumn. 

“There is likely to be substantive change across the system, with design, specification, procurement, construction, building control, management of buildings during occupation, and the competencies of those working on buildings all in scope,” said Eddie Tuttle, director of policy, research and public affairs.  

He expects the passage of the bill to take about a year but warned that it will require substantial secondary legislation which will likely take “many years” to introduce. “Getting that detail right will be crucial,” Tuttle added.

“Some classes of building that we might have expected to be covered by the draft bill are absent, such as care homes, hospitals, hotels,” he noted. “But the bill gives the Building Safety Regulator powers to advise the Secretary of State to amend definitions of the buildings in the legislation.”

Building Safety Bill: likely timeline

  • Autumn 2020: Begins passage through parliament
  • June or October 2021: Becomes law as Building Safety Act
  • 2021-2024: Implementation across built environment sector
  • From 2021 onwards: Secondary legislation

The CIOB remains concerned about the implementation of the proposals in the bill and whether the industry has the skills or the culture to deliver the wide-ranging changes required.

Paul Nash, the CIOB past president who sits on the Industry Safety Steering Group (ISSG), said: “The underlying message we’re getting back from the industry is that people will not change unless there is legislation forcing them to do so. While we’ve seen some early adopters, and some companies have begun implementing the recommendations of Dame Judith Hackitt’s Building a Safer Future report, many are still lagging behind.”

Further detail on skills and competency standards for those working on higher risk buildings will emerge from the imminent final report from the Competence Steering Group (CSG), Nash said. Meanwhile, the British Standards Institute is leading development of standards for the duty holder roles under the new building safety regime and the CIOB is leading the working group responsible for developing standards for the principal contractor role. 

“We are also considering the processes that will be needed to assess and assure the competence of our members performing these roles in the future,” added Nash.

Building Safety Bill: Five key issues for construction

Comments

Assuming that Dame Judith Hackitt’s Building a Safer Future report is the only way to go.

giuseppe di leo, 24 September 2020