The government is creating a stronger and more effective regulatory framework to improve building safety.
This will mean tougher sanctions for those who disregard residents’ safety, more rigorous standards and guidance for those undertaking building work, and a stronger voice for residents.
The plans outlined today (Tuesday 18 December) explain how the 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.
Building a Safer Future, commits the government to a programme of reform over the coming years which will:
- Take forward all of the recommendations in the Hackitt review
- Create a more effective regulatory and accountability framework to provide greater oversight of the industry
- Introduce clearer standards and guidance, including establishing a new Standards Committee to advise on construction product and system standards and regulations
- Put residents at the heart of the new system of building safety, empowering them with more effective routes for engagement and redress
- Help to create a culture change and a more responsible building industry, from design, through to construction and management
The government will establish the Joint Regulators’ Group to trial elements of a new regulatory system ahead of any new proposed legislation. The group will bring existing regulatory bodies together to work with developers and building owners, as well as seeking input from residents and tenants, to develop and test new approaches that may later feature in legislation.
In addition to setting out its plans to implement the changes called for by Dame Judith Hackitt, a full review of fire safety guidance within building regulations has also been launched. The government has issued a ‘call for evidence’ that will gather expert advice on the full range of fire safety issues to enable guidance to be revised. The government is also inviting views from residents and those who manage buildings on how to improve fire and structural safety. Residents and building owners are invited to identify the best ways of working together to meet safety responsibilities and to share existing good practice.
Secretary of State for Communities, Rt Hon James Brokenshire MP said:
There is nothing more important than being safe in your own home and I am determined to improve building safety.
My plan for stronger, tougher rules will make sure there is no hiding place for those who flout building safety rules.
By making people responsible and more accountable for safety, we will create a more rigorous system so residents will always have peace of mind that they are safe in their own homes.
A Written Ministerial Statement supporting today’s announcement and providing further details has been published alongside a full implementation plan.
The Joint Regulators Group’ will comprise key regulators and partners – Local Authority Building Control, The National Fire Chiefs Council, the Health & Safety Executive, the Local Government Association which includes the fire and rescue authorities, and others as required.
Since the Grenfell Tower fire on 14 June 2017, the government has:
- Published the Social Housing Green Paper looking at improving the lives of those living in social housing.
- Identified buildings with unsafe aluminium composite material (ACM) cladding and ensured there are appropriate interim safety measures in place until the cladding is replaced.
- Committed up to £400 million to fully fund the replacement of unsafe cladding on high-rise social housing properties.
- Incentivised remediation by supporting local authorities to take decisive enforcement action where remediation plans for high-rise buildings with unsafe ACM cladding are unclear. This includes offering financial support where this is necessary to enable them to carry out emergency remedial work on affected private residential buildings with unsafe ACM cladding.
- Announced a ban on the use of combustible materials on the external walls of high-rise residential buildings. The regulations were laid in parliament on 29 November 2018 and are due to come into force on 21 December 2018.
- Welcomed the industry formation of the Competence Steering Group.
- Launched an Early Adopters’ Group, made up of developers and building owners to improve building safety now and drive the change in culture within the industry.
- Commenced an investigation into the fire door industry and intervened in the composite fire door market to remove unsafe products from sale.
- Issued advice notes to building owners and those responsible to make sure residents are safe now and in the future, including an addendum to the Housing Health and Safety Rating System (HHSRS) operating guidance, providing specific guidance on the assessment of high-rise residential buildings with unsafe cladding.
Review of building regulations and fire safety
Dame Judith Hackitt’s review of building regulations and fire safety was published on 17 May 2018. Dame Judith Hackitt said in her review:
This new regulatory regime needs to change the culture and mindset of those people and businesses involved in the design, construction, maintenance and operation of certain buildings so that they take proper ownership of the potential building safety risks and provide intelligent leadership in managing and controlling those risks (rather than being told by government what to do).