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The bill’s proposed policy changes follow increased building safety concerns arising from the Grenfell Tower fire tragedy on 14 June 2017, including the use of unsafe cladding on many high-rise buildings in the country. Following the Grenfell tragedy, the Government commissioned reviews of building safety and introduced the building safety programme, which has resulted in the need for fire remediation works on many buildings. 

Among other things, the bill would: 

  • Establish a building safety regulator to oversee a new safety regime for higher-risk buildings.
  • Amend the Building Act 1984 to reform building regulations. The Government intends to use these reforms to introduce a new ‘gateway’ scheme for the design and construction of higher-risk buildings.
  • Create new roles for the management of higher-risk buildings, including accountable persons and building safety managers.
  • Allow for a building safety charge in leasehold properties.
  • Require landlords to take “reasonable steps” to protect leaseholders from the costs of fire remediation works.
  • Improve access to claims under the Defective Premises Act 1972.
  • Revise the regulatory framework for construction products, focused on safety.
  • Introduce a new homes ombudsman scheme.

Overall, the aims of the bill have been welcomed. However, members of the House of Commons and external commentators have expressed concern that it does not address the high costs of remedial fire-safety works faced by some leaseholders. The Government has already introduced measures to help cover the costs of unsafe cladding removal in buildings over 18 metres. However, it has now stated that measures will be taken to apply this to leaseholders in buildings between 11 and 18 metres. It has indicated that amendments to protect leaseholders from these costs may be tabled in the House of Lords.   


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