Policymakers announce “biggest change in building safety for a generation”

New housing and development legislation has been described as the “biggest change in building safety for a generation”.

Announced by the Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government this week, a new Building Safety Regulator will be established alongside sweeping new health and safety laws designed to protect tenants and homeowners.

According to the report, the new buildings authority will ensure that residential buildings and developments are safe to live in, and where necessary, enforce landlords to take remedial action.

Landlords who fail to ensure that properties are safe will also be named and shamed under the remit of the new regulator. This includes compliance with fresh advice on building safety for multi-storey, multi-occupied buildings, fire doors, combustible cladding, sprinklers, and fire safety.

The plans come as a response to Phase 1 of the Grenfell Tower Public Inquiry, which burned down in June 2017, tragically killing 72 people, after unsafe cladding was installed on the block.

Under new building and development guidelines, the cladding, known as Aluminium Composite Material (ACM), should be urgently removed from all tower blocks.

The Government has also consulted on extending the ban on combustible materials to buildings below 18 metres.

Commenting on the report, Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick said: “The government is committed to bringing about the biggest change in building safety for a generation.

“Progress on improving building safety needs to move significantly faster to ensure people are safe in their homes and building owners are held to account.

“That’s why today I’m announcing a major package of reforms, including establishing the Building Safety Regulator within the Health and Safety Executive to oversee the new regime and publishing consolidated guidance for building owners.”

He added: “Unless swift progress is seen in the coming weeks, I will publicly name building owners where action to remediate unsafe ACM cladding has not started. There can be no more excuses for delay, I’m demanding immediate action.”

Click here to find out more about the new legislation.

Ian West, Partner at Carter Lemon Camerons LLP, said: “The new regulations will mean it is important for buyers of flats to have a survey carried out to check the cladding of the building in question.”

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