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The government’s commitment to building safety reform

Since our article: Building safety consultation – and how it could affect you on the potential impact of reforms to building safety standards, the latest Queen’s Speech outlines the government’s commitment to the implementation of new standards. This statement follows Dame Judith Hackitt’s report in 2018 and a subsequent consultation on how to improve the building safety regime.

The Queen said: “My ministers…will bring forward laws to implement new building safety standards.”

The Government said: “We are taking forward all 53 of Dame Judith’s recommendations and in some areas going further.

If the government is to follow through on the key recommendations arising from this year’s building safety consultation, the following changes will be implemented:  

  • The production of clearer, more accessible building safety standards and guidance
  • The creation of a ‘dutyholder’ regime where architects, engineers, contractors and developers working on a development project are identified as the ‘dutyholders’ and are directly responsible for ensuring that all building regulations are followed and keeping vital safety information about how the building will be designed, built and managed. Dutyholders will also be responsible for the residents’ safety during and after construction, and
  • The creation of a building safety regulator with the ability to take enforcement action against those ignoring their duties. The regulator would oversee the safety of new and existing buildings and ensure that all safety regulations are taken into account when buildings are constructed.

The new regulatory framework is likely to only affect multi-occupied residential buildings of 18 metres (six storeys) or more.

Precise details of the standards and when they will come into force has not been confirmed. As ministers have rejected a fast track of the reforms we will not see changes any time soon but it has been said that this is going to be one of the most substantive reforms in 40 years. 

For any more information please contact Oliver Conway on o.conway@ashfords.co.uk or Stephanie Gillam on s.gillam@ashfords.co.uk.

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