The draft Building Safety Bill takes forward the Government’s commitment to fundamental reform of the building safety system.

The draft was published on 20 July 2020, and is now open for comments, welcoming submissions of evidence, views and observations.

New protocol within the Bill include having a nominated individual – an ‘Accountable Person’ – responsible for keeping residents safe in high-rise buildings which are 18 metres or more. The Bill will also give the Government new powers to better regulate construction materials and products, ensuring they are safe to use.

The Bill comes as part of a number of reforms following the Grenfell Tragedy in 2017. The deadline for responses is 14 September 2020, and comments can be submitted online here.

As part of the new Bill, it has been proposed that residents and leaseholders will have access to vital safety information about their building, with new complaints handling requirements introduced to make sure effective action is taken when concerns are raised.

This new national regulator for building safety, within the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), will have three main functions; to oversee the safety and standard of all buildings, directly assure the safety of higher-risk buildings, and improve the competence of people responsible for managing and overseeing building work. 

The new rules set out in the Bill will apply when buildings are designed, constructed and then later occupied. At each of these three stages, it will be clear who is responsible for managing the potential risks and what is required to move to the next stage enabling a ‘golden thread’ of vital information about the building to be gathered over its lifetime.

When residents move into a building that falls under the new set of rules, it will need to be registered with the Building Safety Regulator. The ‘Accountable Person’ will then need to conduct and maintain a safety case risk assessment for the building and appoint a Building Safety Manager to oversee it day to day. 

Building inspectors who are responsible for signing-off buildings as safe for people to live in will also have to follow the new rules and must register with the regulator. The New Homes Ombudsman will hold developers to account, including having the power to ensure developers pay compensation when required. For more information, visit https://committees.parliament.uk/work/361/prelegislative-scrutiny-of-the-building-safety-bill/