“Landmark” building safety legislation draft published today


Ministers have declared that the “landmark” piece of legislation will deliver the most comprehensive building safety reforms for nearly 40 years.

It will provide the legal framework for a new Building Safety Regulator for blocks taller than 18 metres, which is currently being established in shadow form within the Health and Safety Executive (HSE).

Tower block residents will have a “louder voice” under the new regime, the government claimed, with the power to challenge inaction on safety issues from building owners.

Leaseholders will also be protected from huge bills to pay for safety work, it added.

Housing secretary Robert Jenrick commented on the announcement: “This is a significant milestone on our journey to fundamentally improving building safety and delivering real change that will keep people safer in their homes.

“I remain committed to making sure we get this right, which is why I will be publishing the draft bill for scrutiny and improvement before it is introduced in parliament.

“I am also calling on the industry to actively prepare for these changes now.

“It is vital that the sector moves in step with us, to provide confidence and reassurance to residents that their safety is firmly at the heart of everything we do.”

A separate consultation on proposals to implement recommendations from the Grenfell Tower Inquiry’s phase one report is also set for publication by the Home Office.

The inquiry’s demands included mandatory three-monthly checks of fire doors and personal evacuation plans for all high-rise residents.

Dame Judith Hackitt, who undertook a review of building regulations and fire safety for the government in the wake of Grenfell, said the draft Building Safety Bill “meets the ambitions and recommendations” in her report.

The government said the legislation will evolve as further safety risks are identified, while the 18m threshold for new rules contained within it will be kept under review.

It will also publish a new manual to building regulations, containing all approved documents guidance.

The HSE will receive £16.4m this year to set up the Building Safety Regulator.

Full applications for the £1bn Building Safety Fund, intended to pay for the remediation of dangerous cladding, can be submitted from 31 July.

More than 1,070 registration forms have already been submitted, housing minister Christopher Pincher said.