Government to publish draft Building Safety Bill today
The government is to publish the draft Building Safety Review today, as it announced that it would begin recruiting for the first ever chief inspector of buildings in England later this year.
The chief inspector of buildings will lead the newly created Building Safety Regulator, which is already being set up within the Health and Safety Executive (HSE).
Under the plans, people living in high-rise buildings will be empowered to access safety information about their building and will be able to use a “swift and effective” complaints process and challenge inaction form their building owner, the government said.
The legislation also promises to regulate construction materials and products to ensure they are safely used more effectively.
Government expert Michael Wade has been asked to work with leaseholders, and the finance and insurance industries. He will test and recommend funding solutions to protect leaseholders from unaffordable costs of fixing historic defects, as well as developing proposals to address insurance issues around building safety.
The draft Bill also includes a new ‘building safety charge’ that aims to give leaseholders greater transparency around costs incurred in maintaining a safe building – with powers included to limit the costs that can be re-charged to leaseholders.
Meanwhile, the government is also publishing a consultation today, which sets out proposals to implement the recommendations from Phase One of the Grenfell Tower Inquiry that require a change in law. The consultation will also look at strengthening fire safety in all regulated buildings in England to ensure that people are safe from fire regardless of where they live, stay or work.
Housing secretary Robert Jenrick said: “This is a significant milestone on our journey to fundamentally improving building safety and delivering real change that will keep people safer in their homes.
“I remain committed to making sure we get this right, which is why I will be publishing the draft Bill for scrutiny and improvement before it is introduced in Parliament.
“I am also calling on the industry to actively prepare for these changes now. It is vital that the sector moves in step with us, to provide confidence and reassurance to residents that their safety is firmly at the heart of everything we do.”
Independent advisor and author of the Independent Review of Building Regulations and Fire Safety, Dame Judith Hackitt said: “I welcome this draft Bill as an important milestone in delivering the fundamental reform this industry needs to make residents and buildings safer.
“It meets the ambitions and recommendations set out in my review.
“And industry must be in no doubt that it is not enough to wait for the Bill to become law before they implement changes; we expect them to start taking action now.”