The Government has announced a promise to introduce a stronger and more effective regulatory system for building safety. This includes tougher sanctions for those who disregard residents’ safety, more rigorous standards and guidance for those undertaking building work, and a stronger voice for residents. Building a safer future: an implementation plan explains how Government will implement the recommendations made by Dame Judith Hackitt in her review of building regulations and fire safety published following the Grenfell Tower fire.
In addressing the challenges laid down by Dame Judith Hackitt, Government says:
- For those who live in high-rise residential buildings: an assurance that safety is actively managed and a means of recourse if safety concerns are being ignored; and more information on the safety measures in the building and clarity on their role in ensuring their homes are safe.
- For those who regulate the buildings: greater powers to intervene and greater ability to pursue those who do not follow the requirements.
- For those who develop the buildings: a requirement to be explicit about how safety is incorporated in buildings, a clear set of gateway points to engage with the regulators and a transparent recording and handover of safety information.
- For those who own existing buildings: an active demonstration that the ongoing safety of the building is being managed effectively.
- For those who provide materials used in construction: greater oversight that products are safe and are being marketed as safe.
- For all of the above, a clearer set of responsibilities with accountabilities at the right level and clearer guidance to operate within.
Responding to the announcement Peter Caplehorn, Construction Products Association Deputy Chief Executive and Policy Director, said: “The UK construction industry is ready to show we can overhaul how our buildings are designed, built and managed. This implementation plan from government will lead the culture change to create a more effective regulatory framework.
“The Construction Products Association believes there is a pressing need to address current issues around unclear regulations, roles and responsibilities, inadequate product quality, weak compliance and sanctions, and how we engage with users and residents of buildings. We are pleased to have contributed towards Dame Judith Hackitt’s Independent Review, as both Chair of the Regulations and Guidance Working Group and contributing to the Golden Thread and Quality Assurance and Products Working Groups.
“As we’ve made clear previously, there remains for our sector a lack of transparency around how information about the performance of products is made available. That’s why further to our recommendations directly referenced in Dame Judith’s Report, we have established a cross-industry group to spearhead a code of practice for the provision of product information and how that is marketed. In addition, we will continue our work with the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government within the Industry Response Group to identify and develop specific competency frameworks and accreditation pathways, reflecting the work set out in Dame Judith’s Review.
“The implementation plan from government is key to the UK construction industry developing a more comprehensive approach towards competence, putting the right people at the heart of decision-making for building safety. The work between government and the Construction Products Association to reach this point will continue, and we are pleased this has been recognised in the implementation plan by the Secretary of State for Communities, the Rt Hon James Brokenshire MP.”
Other documents government have published alongside the implementation plan include:
The government has also now formally responded to the consultation on amendments to statutory guidance on assessments in lieu of tests in Approved Document B. This response can be accessed here.
In association with this response, the government has published an impact assessment in relation to amendments to statutory guidance on assessments in lieu of tests in Approved Document B, which can be accessed here.
The government has also published amendments to Approved Document B – volume 1 – dwelling houses, which can be accessed here.
Updated volume 2 – buildings other than dwelling houses can be accessed here.
The government has also issued a call for evidence on how residents and landlords can work together to keep their home and building safe, which can be accessed here.