Update on Building Safety Reforms

The Secretary of State for Housing, Robert Jenrick MP has recently published the government’s response to the consultation, Building a Safer Future, setting out the latest position on the Building Safety Reforms following the Grenfell Enquiry Phase 1.

The more stringent regulatory regime will, at the outset, apply to all multi-occupied residential buildings of 18 metres or more in height, or more than six storeys (whichever is reached first).

The government will introduce a comprehensive duty holder regime, so that at each stage in the lifecycle of a building, including design, construction and occupation, including those buildings already occupied. There will be clearly identified people who are directly accountable for the safety of residents.

The goal is to drive a longer term and more fundamental culture change, through which the safety of our homes and of all residents can be given the priority it rightly deserves.

To help ensure the safety of existing buildings over 18m the Government has announced that it will provide £1Billion in 2020/21 to support the remediation of unsafe non-ACM cladding materials on high rise buildings, in addition to funding already made available to replace ACM cladding.

The Government are also working proactively with the insurance industry to ensure appropriate Professional Indemnity insurance is available for professionals working on high rise buildings. This is critical to the industries ability to continue designing and delivering much needed high rise, high density residential development.

In May the Government will publish an update to Approved Document B that will include increased fire safety measures in high-rise blocks of flats. This follows the Government’s consultation between 5 September and 28 November 2019. These measures will include provision of sprinkler systems and consistent wayfinding signage in all new high-rise blocks of flats over 11 metres tall.

This is a time of much need improvement in the fire safety of buildings and improved clarity in the regulations will be to the benefit of all. We look forward to working with our clients to implement the new Approved Document B in the coming months.