Building Safety Bill receives royal assent

Building Safety Bill receives royal assent

The Building Safety Bill which started its passage through parliament last July received royal assent on Friday.  

Among the changes, which are now law, is the creation of a new building safety regulator for buildings higher than 18 metres as well as “waterfall” protections introduced to ensure leaseholders avoid footing the bill for remediation costs.

A new national regulator for construction products will also be introduced to oversee rules on the supply and marketing of construction materials and will have the power to remove unsafe products from the market. A new statutory list of “safety critical” construction product standards is also thought to be in the pipeline.

A New Homes Ombudsman scheme will also be established to manage buyer complaints against developers.

Amendments to the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 are also brought by the new Act, including new requirements relating to the responsible person (RP) for individual buildings.

Housing Secretary, Michael Gove, announced in January plans to hold developers and construction product manufacturers accountable for remediation works, through the introduction of a £4bn levy. An agreement was finally struck earlier this month in which 36 developers signed a pledge to fix defective buildings constructed in the last 30 years. The agreement includes buildings they have developed on behalf of social landlords as part of Section 106 agreements. Leaseholders will also be able to launch retrospective legal action going back 30 years against developers or contractors that have built unsafe properties.

But the government has also confirmed that shorter buildings of less than 11 metres will not be given the same protection due to a lack of “systemic fire risk”, and has stated that in most cases fire alarms are an appropriate fix for buildings of this height.

Stephen Greenhalgh, the Minister for Building Safety, commented that the Bill has brought about the “biggest changes in building safety legislation in our history”. The government has however confirmed that the changes are likely to take between 12 and 18 months to become effective.

Want to have your say? Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Read more stories

Join nearly 5,000 other practitioners – sign up to our free newsletter

You’ll receive the latest updates, analysis, and best practice straight to your inbox.