The Government is to establish a new building safety regulator within the Health and Safety Executive (HSE).  It intends that the new regulator will raise building safety and performance standards and will oversee a new, more stringent regime for higher-risk buildings.

The move is part of a package of reforms announced by Housing Secretary, Robert Jenrick, in response to the Grenfell Tower tragedy and other fires in high rise buildings.  These include proposals to reduce the current height ban on combustible materials on buildings from 18 meters to at least 11 meters.

The government has also clarified and updated its advice on the steps building owners should take to ensure their buildings are safe.  The consolidated advice has been published on the government’s website.

To accelerate progress on safety improvements, the Housing Secretary has announced that he will name and shame building owners who have been slow to remove flammable Aluminium Composite Material (ACM) cladding from their buildings.

Progress on improving building safety needs to move significantly faster to ensure people are safe in their homes and building owners are held to account.  Unless swift progress is seen in the coming weeks, I will publicly name building owners where action to remediate unsafe ACM cladding has not started,” said Mr Jenrick.

But John Healey, Shadow Secretary of State for Housing criticised the government’s progress on building safety, claiming that 315 high rise blocks still have Grenfell-style cladding.  “Mr Speaker I never thought I would be standing here two and a half years later facing a Secretary of State, the third Secretary of State who still cannot say that all the necessary action has been taken and that a fire like Grenfell cannot happen again in Britain,” he told MPs.

James Burgoyne, Director – Claims & Technical, Brunel Professions says that property professionals will need to move quickly to encompass any new regulations.  “The government has made it clear that building safety is at the top of its agenda.  We can expect that the new regulator will want to be seen to be taking firm action with any organisation that does not meet its standards,” he said.

The government’s press release announcing its plans has been published on its website.  Reports about the new regulator have been published on the Parliament website, by Property Week and by Construction Manager.

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