Building safety: Government publishes draft ‘game changing’ legislation

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30 July 2020

Grenfell

Building safety: Government publishes draft ‘game changing’ legislation

The long-awaited draft Building Safety Bill - designed to prevent a disaster such as the 2017 Grenfell Tower fire from ever happening again - has been released by the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government.

Under the legislation, those who build and manage higher-risk buildings will need to demonstrate and be accountable for how they have considered the safety of residents; and there will be tougher sanctions for those fail to meet their obligations.

Importantly for FMs, the new bill outlines the future statutory responsibilities for building safety management in higher-risk buildings (those higher than 18 metres or six storeys), including those of the Building Safety Manager (BSM). This role - for which IWFM has helped to develop the competency framework - is most likely to be assigned to FMs during the building occupation stage. Key aspects include:

  • the BSM can be an individual or an organisation (who must nominate an individual to act under its control) whose principal role is to support the Accountable Person in the day-to-day management of a building’s fire and structural safety
  • the BSM must have the organisational capability and relevant skills, knowledge, experience and behaviours to carry out the statutory functions
  • responsibilities include:
    • complying with their statutory duties as set out in the Building Safety Bill
    • managing the building in accordance with the Safety Case Report and ensuring compliance with the requirements of the Building Assurance Certificate
    • complying with all directions given and statutory notices issued by the Building Safety Regulator
    • acting as a clear point of contact with residents for complaints handling, information provision and the role of residents in building safety
    • mandatory reporting to the Building Safety Regulator
    • co-operating with other occupiers or owners of the building to secure an integrated approach to managing building safety risks.

IWFM has previously outlined how this legislation will help to establish a new building safety regime and what the industry can already do to prepare for the future. We would urge members responsible for building safety to engage with this draft bill, which ‘represents the most significant and fundamental changes to building safety legislation in decades’.

We will work with our expert Life Safety Working Group to further scrutinise the bill and will continue to update members on its implications and progress. We will also keep the profession informed on future statutory guidance, such as the skills, knowledge, experience and behaviours BSMs will require to carry out their statutory functions (these are not detailed in the draft bill).

If you would like to share any feedback on this article or on the new building safety regime, please email: policy@iwfm.org.uk