New building regulations are coming your way
The government is expected to publish draft legislation to deliver new post-Grenfell building regulations by the end of this month. The aim is to ensure that all new buildings, including high-rise blocks, are built to robust fire and life safety standards, reducing the possibility of a repeat of the 2017 tragedy. We hear the new regime could be in place by 2021.
According to press reports, the government is likely to set out proposals for new legislation before the end of May and, according to Inside Housing, certainly before 14 June – the second anniversary of the Grenfell Tower fire. The consultation period on these ideas will probably last around eight weeks.
The proposals will be based on recommendations set out in Dame Judith Hackitt’s review of the building regulations, which was carried out last year, and it is likely that included in the new regime will be:
- a designated ‘dutyholder’ in every building, who will take on new responsibilities for building safety;
- A new regulator will be set up to take responsibility for building safety; and
- Changes to the current rules around building control. These may make it impossible for developers to choose their own building control regulator as they can under the existing regime.
The government is also expected to consult on ways to better engage residents in decisions about their building and address their safety concerns.
The proposal that will have the biggest impact on flat owners and their property managers is the introduction of the role of ‘dutyholder’ or in other words, a building safety manager. Block managers already carry responsibility for health & safety but Dame Judith wants a named individual to be held responsible for the safety of a building and its residents. This could be a property/building manager, a separate specialist or even – with the right training – an RMC or RTMCo director. Until the consultation is published, it is impossible to second guess the way this will go. But one thing is certain, fire and life safety is right at the top of the housing agenda. Whether block managers are in the frame themselves or will be responsible for working with another specialist, they must ensure their skills are bang up-to-date because residents will want to know they are up to the job.
Author : Mary-Anne Bowring
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