THE BUILDING SAFETY BILL, published today sets out how residential buildings should be constructed and maintained in future.
It not only establishes Hackitt’s ‘golden thread’ of building lifecycle information for owners and occupiers, but also allows residents to sue builders for substandard construction retrospectively for up to 15 years.
Under the proposals, the government is more than doubling the amount of time, from 6 to 15 years, that residents can seek compensation for substandard construction work.
The changes will apply retrospectively. This means that residents of a building completed in 2010 would be able to bring proceedings against the developer until 2025.
Building Safety Bill
New measures in the Building Safety Bill introduced today will:
Identify people responsible for safety during the design, build and occupation of a high-rise residential building.
Establish a Building Safety Regulator to manage building safety risks, including taking enforcement action.
Give residents more routes to raise safety concerns and mechanisms to ensure their concerns will be heard and taken seriously.
Compensation for substandard workmanship and unacceptable defects.
Drive a culture change to enable the design and construction of high-quality, safe homes.
Minister for Building and Fire Safety Lord Greenhalgh said: “The comprehensive steps we are taking today will ensure that industry and the regulatory system fully address the concerns raised in the ‘Building a Safer Future’ report by Dame Judith Hackitt.
“Though the overall risk of fire across all buildings remains low, we can’t be complacent – the more robust regime will take a proportixnate and risk-based approach to remediation and other safety risks.
“And by increasing our measures of enforcement, we will make sure industry follows the rules – and is held to account when it doesn’t.”
The Bill changes the regulatory framework for construction products, creating a market surveillance and enforcement regime led by the Office for Product Safety and Standards (OPSS).
The national regulator will be able to remove products from the market that present safety risks and prosecute or use civil penalties against any business that breaks the rules and compromises public safety.
The Bill also contains measures to protect leaseholders by providing a legal requirement for building owners to explore alternative ways to meet remediation costs before passing these onto leaseholders, along with evidence that this has been done.
Currently government only fully funds the cost of replacing unsafe cladding for leaseholders in residential buildings 18 metres and over in England.
Developers will also be required to be members of the New Homes Ombudsman scheme.
Chair of the Independent Review of Building Regulations and Fire Safety Dame Judith Hackitt said: “I am delighted that we have reached this important milestone for the Building Safety Bill. It is vital that we focus on getting the system right for the future and set new standards for building safety.
“Residents and other stakeholders need to have their confidence in high rise buildings restored and those who undertake such projects must be held to account for delivering safe buildings.”
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