Government announces new measures to boost building safety in high-rise blocks
Housing secretary Robert Jenrick appears to be following through with promises made before December's General Election.
It is less than six weeks since the General election and the Government appears to be making good on its promise in the Queen?s speech to make building safety a priority. Yesterday, Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick announced a range of measures to improve building safety standards and keep people living in high rise blocks safe in their homes.
Speaking in the House of Commons, Mr Jenrick set out a package of measures that includes:
A building safety regulator - to raise building safety and performance standards, including overseeing a new, more stringent regime for higher-risk buildings.
Safety advice for owners of multi-storey, multi-occupied buildings from the Government?s independent expert advisory panel, with a strong focus on cladding.
A call for evidence seeking views on the assessment of risks within existing buildings. This will provide a firm evidence base to guide decisions for both existing buildings and future regulatory regimes.
Continuing emphasisis on the safety of fire doors - the?Association of?Composite?Door?Manufacturers?is to work with building owners to replace doors which fail tests.
Remediation of buildings with ACM cladding - To speed up work, a construction expert will be appointed to review timescales and identify what can be done to improve pace in the private sector. To ensure cost is not a barrier to replacing dangerous materials, the government is considering different options to support the remediation of buildings, examining options to mitigate costs for individuals or provide alternative financing routes.
Consultation on the combustible cladding ban - this includes proposals to lower the 18-metre height threshold to at least 11 metres.
Sprinklers - The Government aims to lower the height threshold for sprinkler requirements in new buildings.
- Detailed proposals on how the government will deliver the technical review of fire guidance will be published in February.
A Fire Safety Bill is to be introduced to Parliament.
The Housing Secretary made it clear that building owners are responsible for ensuring their buildings are safe. Where blocks have no plan in place to remove and replace dangerous cladding, the government will work with local authorities to support them in enforcing the works necessary to bring buildings back up to safe standards. However, from February, building owners who have not started to remove unsafe cladding from their buildings will be named and shamed.
The next steps are for the government to consult on extending the ban on combustible materials to buildings below 18 metres and the MHCLG will be seeking views from the property sector on how risks are assessed within existing buildings to inform future policy. In the meantime, we will keep you posted on the changes as they come into effect.
Click here to read yesterday?s building safety announcement in full.
Author : Mary-Anne Bowring
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