On Monday 5th July, the long-awaited Building Safety Bill was finally published and simultaneously announced in parliament.
The Bill comes nearly 12 months after the draft Bill was published and 4 years after the Grenfell Tower tragedy, which forced the nation to address its wholly inadequate building and fire safety regimes.
The UK’s Housing Secretary, Robert Jenrick said that the Bill will “reassure the vast majority of residents” and provide “essential oversight at every stage of a building’s lifecycle from design, construction, completion to occupation.”
Those working within AECO (architecture, engineering, construction and operation) will already be familiar with many of the details outlined in the draft Bill. However, it is yet to be clarified exactly how many elements of Dame Judith Hackitt’s review and the resulting Building Safety Bill will be practically implemented.
Tom Boland, our Global Head of Digitalisation said: “Building owners and contractors alike are waiting for clarity around the new regulations and their own obligations, and the industry desperately needs this to accelerate the rebuilding of trust with buyers and tenants.”
What is known for sure is that the Bill will have massive implications for those involved in the development, construction and management of multi-occupancy residences which exceed 18m in height or 7 storeys.
These so called HRRBs (High Risk Residential Buildings) have been placed under necessary scrutiny in recent years, with a £5bn fund created as part of the Building Safety Programme to support vital remediation work, including the removal of dangerous cladding.
Despite the existence of the fund, many residents are still facing hefty bills for repairs and renovations. Moreover, there has been a spate of reports about leaseholders in HRRBs who are unable to value, remortgage or sell their properties due to difficulties in obtaining the necessary safety certificates, known as ESW1s.
Perhaps in response to this situation, the publication of the Bill makes it clear that the time scale in which a leaseholder can sue a developer for repairs has more than doubled from 6 years, to 15. This development (made possible through an amendment to the existing Defective Premises Act 1972) is what has been grabbing most of the headlines this week.
However, the implications of the Bill for developers and asset owners go much further:
Gateway one comes into effect from the 1st August 2021. It affects pre-planning and will require developers to include fire statements in their applications, as well as considering things like emergency access and water supplies for firefighting.
The wheels are already in motion for the Building Safety Bill and as more of the new legislation is passed, the responsibilities faced by stakeholders are going to become more and more significant. Asset Lifecycle Information Management, communication and transparency will become more vital to compliance than ever and Tom Boland says digital tools have a key role to play in facilitating those things.
“Now is the time for any companies without a digital plan to put one in place,” he says.
Find out how Zutec can support your organisation with our Asset Lifecyle Information Management systems. Request a Demo.