Government Launches Consultation on Building and Fire Safety Reforms

28th June 2019

The government has announced that it is inviting feedback from building owners, the general public, the construction industry and the fire sector, regarding its proposals to improve fire safety in the built environment –  ‘Building a safer future: proposals for reform of the building safety regulatory system’.

Published by the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG), the consultation seeks the views of as wide an audience as possible, to ensure that as many groups as possible can feed into this process.  The consultation proposes a thorough and all-round approach to all elements of construction and fire safety management and tougher enforcements and sanctions, by creating greater accountability throughout the process. 

The consultation requests feedback on five key themes to help to drive a real culture change within the industry.  The government has identified that the scope of the new regulations will include multi-occupied residential buildings of 18 metres or more, and they are encouraging feedback on whether to include certain non-residential, multi-occupied buildings where vulnerable people sleep.

A more stringent approach to accountability is recommended through the concept of dutyholders – those who have clear responsibilities during the design, construction and occupation of any in-scope building. Dutyholders will be required to demonstrate a building’s safety through a new system of ‘gateway points’ during design and construction (roles defined under CDM), and through a safety case regime during its occupation.

This consultation proposes to empower residents, as part of the new building safety system.  This will include two-way communication, providing clearer routes of escalation, and sharing information with residents, to ensure their concerns are never ignored.

The consultation outlines plans for a new building safety regulator, which would oversee all aspects of construction and safety management.  The regulator would push for ongoing competence improvements, as well as putting in place independent reviews of the building safety system and regulation of construction products.

The proposed system will also be underpinned by strengthened enforcement and sanctions within the new building safety regulatory system framework, to deter non-compliance with the new regime.

The consultation will last for 6 weeks, running from 6th June 2019 to 31st July 2019.

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