The Grenfell blaze in June 2017, which killed 72 people, threw up many lessons for the construction industry and building owners/managers. Many of these lessons were set out in Dame Judith Hackitt’s Independent Review of Building Regulations & Fire Safety, published last year.
This, in turn, led to the government’s Building a Safer Future white paper, published in December 2018, paving the way for legislation.
The proposed legislation on which the Ministry of Housing is seeking views includes a new dutyholder regime and a more effective regulatory and accountability framework for buildings.
Dutyholders will be responsible for ensuring that building regulations – the minimum standards a building must meet – are complied with.
Dutyholders will also be responsible for ensuring a building stays safe once it is built and people are living in it.
Dutyholders will be responsible for keeping vital safety information about how the building was designed and built and is managed. This is known as the ‘golden thread’ of information and will be kept electronically for the entire life of a building, from its design to its place as a home for residents. The people responsible for this information will have to make sure it is up to date and that the right people can access it, including residents.
It is proposed that the new regime will be enforced by a new building safety regulator. New criminal offences will be created to make sure that those responsible for the safety of a high rise residential building during the design and construction of the building, as well as when residents are living in the building, comply with the new responsibilities.
The consultation runs for eight weeks until Wednesday 31st July 2019.