Building safety law to establish regulator with power to prosecute rule-breakers

·3-min read
Grenfell Tower (PA Wire)
Grenfell Tower (PA Wire)

The Government has announced a new building safety regulator that has the authority to prosecute rule-breaking developers and manufacturers who could have their construction products taken off the market.

Dubbed the ‘Building Safety Bill’, the reform will mean people who live in a property completed in 2010 will have until 2025 to take action on a rogue builder or developer.

Ministry of Housing said that the national regulator established by the Bill will also have major powers to prosecute or use civil penalties against any business that breaks the rules and compromises public safety.

Officials said the regulator will be able to remove properties from the market if they are deemed to have issues.

The new regulator will provide essential oversight at every stage of a building’s life cycle, from design, construction, completion to occupation

Robert Jenrick

The Bill, which contains plans to avoid a further tragedy like the Grenfell Tower blaze, will be unveiled on Monday by Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick.

Other new measures include giving leaseholders and home-owners in buildings containing risks “more routes to raise concerns about safety”, along with “mechanisms to ensure their concerns will be heard and taken seriously”.

Mr Jenrick told the BBC that the reform was drawn up after a the government realised that some household appliances, such as toasters and fridges, have better guarantees than new homes.

It also follows complaints that Grenfell residents had their fears over fire safety ignored before the deadly fire.

The Building Safety Bill will ensure there are “clearly identified people” responsible for safety during the design, build and occupation of a high-rise residential building, according to officials.

The legislation will mainly affect England, with most of the relevant matters devolved to other nations in the Union.

Mr Jenrick said: “This Bill will ensure high standards of safety for people’s homes, and in particular for high-rise buildings, with a new regulator providing essential oversight at every stage of a building’s life cycle, from design, construction, completion to occupation.

 (PA Wire)
(PA Wire)

“The new building safety regime will be a proportionate one, ensuring those buildings requiring remediation are brought to an acceptable standard of safety swiftly, and reassuring the vast majority of residents and leaseholders in those buildings that their homes are safe.”

The Ministry of Housing said the proposals build on the Government’s commitment to fully fund the cost of replacing unsafe cladding for all leaseholders in residential buildings of 18 metres and over in England, through a £5 billion investment in building safety.

The introduction of a new levy and a tax will also ensure that industry pays its fair share towards the costs of cladding remediation, it added.

Mr Jenrick said he expected all dangerous cladding to have been removed by the end of the year.

Labour urged ministers to ensure the legislation ensures leaseholders cannot be billed for fire and building safety remediation works in future – or face a possible defeat.

Shadow housing secretary Lucy Powell said: “If ministers do not legislate to safeguard leaseholders’ livelihoods, we will build on the big cross-party consensus from the Fire Safety Act rebellions to defeat the Government and protect homeowners from colossal costs.”

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