Building safety update: new legislation; government’s response to Grenfell Inquiry Phase 1

News

  • Policy

29 January 2020

Building

Here is an update on the latest news in building safety, courtesy of the IWFM Policy team.

New legislation

Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick has announced new measures to quicken the pace and broaden the scope of ‘the biggest change in building safety for a generation’.

New legislation includes a Fire Safety Bill (to be introduced in February 2020), which will: clarify the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 requiring residential building owners to mitigate the risks of any external wall systems and front doors to individual flats; strengthen enforcement powers where building owners have not remediated unsafe Aluminium Composite Material (ACM).

Newly created Building Safety Manager role

Later this year, the Building Safety Bill will legislate for the new regulatory body that will oversee a more stringent safety and performance regime for higher-risk buildings. The legislation will also introduce the new role of the Building Safety Manager - a named individual who will be legally responsible and liable for a building’s safety.

Independent Expert Advisory Panel updates advice

The Independent Expert Advisory Panel has updated and consolidated its advice notes to building owners on actions they should take now to ensure that their buildings - including residential buildings under 18 metres - are safe. You can find the advice here.

Government’s response to Grenfell Tower Inquiry Phase 1 report

The government has published its response to the Grenfell Public Inquiry Phase 1 report, including two consultations that may interest members.

Key points and measures outlined in the statement include:

Sprinklers

  • following a recent public consultation, the Secretary of State is minded to lower the height threshold from 18 metres to 11 metres for new buildings

Cladding

  • a new consultation on banning the use of combustible materials in/on external walls of buildings will look at the building types covered, height thresholds, a list of exemptions and a proposal to ban the use of metal composite panels. The closing date for submissions is 13 April
  • following widespread criticism that many building owners are not doing enough to remove ACM cladding, the Housing Secretary confirmed that from February he would begin to ‘name and shame’ those who have not begun this process
  • the appointment of a ‘construction expert’ to review the government’s remediation timescales and identify what can be done to improve the pace of action in the private sector

Advice for owners

  • there’s a new call for evidence on how to assess and prioritise fire safety risks and how to better understand the complexity of building risk to ensure an appropriate level of safety is achieved in existing buildings. The closing date for submissions is 17 February
  • building safety experts will commissioned to develop a matrix of risk that will replace the historic, height-based system and underpin the government’s approach to future regulatory regimes.

If members would like further information on the above or would like to contribute to IWFM’s ongoing work on building safety, please email: policy@iwfm.org.uk