Government issues Building Safety Bill for ’higher risk buildings’

As part of the response to the Grenfell tragedy, the Government has recently introduced the Building Safety Bill.

The Bill relates to what are called ‘higher risk buildings’. To start with these are likely to be buildings of more than one dwelling which has a height of more than 18 metres to the surface of the top floor (ignoring any storey which houses roof top plant only) or has more than 6 storeys. It is likely that it will initially include student accommodation but not hospitals, hospices, care homes, hotels, hostels building houses or prisons, although these could be included later.

This bill introduces  the concept of a Building Safety Regulator who will be the building control authority for work

There are greater duties on those responsible during the design and construction phase of a building

The Bill introduces an Accountable Person who will have duties both before a building is occupied as well as during the time that it is  occupied.

Running through the Bill is the concept of a golden thread of information regarding safety.  Information has to be prepared and kept up to date throughout the lifetime of the building, from the design stage onwards.

There is also the introduction of a new homes ombudsman.

It is not yet clear when the Bill will become law.

At the same time as the Bill was introduced, the Government also launched a consultation on fire safety. We will blog separately on this in due course.

Written by Alison GarrettSenior Legal Adviser and Jastinder SamraTrainee Solicitor.

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