BUILDING A SAFER FUTURE

Following the tragic fire at Grenfell Tower in June 2017, the Government sought to bring about fundamental changes in building and fire safety.

Dame Judith Hackitt, a qualified engineer with a strong regulatory background, was commissioned by the government to assess the effectiveness of current building and fire safety regulations and related compliance and enforcement issues, with a focus on multi-occupancy and high-rise residential buildings.

The review of the Building Regulations and fire safety, which made 53 recommendations for improvement, concluded that the whole system needed major reform and the Government subsequently launched a consultation on reforms to the Regulations. The consultation and the Government’s response has culminated with the introduction and reform of new legislation most notably the Fire Safety Bill and the draft Building Safety Bill. It has also led to the introduction of the EWS1 form. The Government’s housing secretary, Robert Jenrick, has stated that these changes will produce “the biggest improvements in building safety in nearly 40 years”.

The proposed changes are wide ranging and potentially impose greater obligations on designers, contractors and building control bodies (including approved inspectors, who will become ‘registered building control approvers’). They also pose further insurance issues in an already hardened market and leave many of the details for subsequent and yet unknown secondary legislation.

All those in the construction industry will need to be aware of the evolving legislative and regulatory requirements. In this area we have collated a selection of legal updates, articles and webinars which report on developments in the legal and regulatory landscape and the impact on those in the construction and related industries of the Government’s aim to build a safer future.