Ed Controls’ Stephen McMenzie explains what the Building Safety Bill is and reflects on the dominant regulatory and legislative reforms taking place within UK construction
The Grenfell Tower tragedy triggered the highly debated Building Safety Bill, which is currently making its way through parliament, and is set to change how certain buildings are constructed, maintained, and made safe.
The Bill is being brought in to ensure that building safety is a top priority and to address issues with a lack of accountability during the lifecycle of a building.
The reforms will be able to adapt to future risks and challenges, with a particular focus on high-rise residential buildings. It’s thought that this will drive the culture change across the industry to enable the design and construction of quality and safe homes in years to come.
What is the Building Safety Bill?
The Building Safety Bill forms part of the government’s commitment to improve the regulation of building safety standards.
The new regulatory framework is designed to:
- Create a more simple and effective system for driving building safety
- Provide a stronger oversight of duty holders with incentives for the right behaviours, and effective sanctions for poor performance
- Empower residents to hold builders and developers accountable for threatening their safety
The Bill has been designed to enhance the current model of responsibility, so that:
- Those who procure, design, create and maintain buildings are responsible for ensuring that those buildings are safe for those who live and work in them
- The Government will set out clear outcome-based requirements for the building safety standards which must be achieved
- The regulator will hold duty holders to account, ensure that the standards are met and take action against those who fail to meet the requirements
- Residents will actively participate in the ongoing safety of the building and must be recognised as having a voice
Does it apply to all buildings?
The government’s approach prioritises actions on buildings 18 metres and above because the risk to multiple households is greater when fire does spread in buildings of this height.
What will the changes do?
The Bill will give residents more power to hold builders and developers to account and toughen sanctions against those who threaten their safety.
A building safety regulator will oversee the new regime and be responsible for ensuring that building safety risks in any new and existing high rise residential buildings, of 18m and above (or of seven storeys or more), are effectively managed and resolved.
According to Gowling WLG, in the past, it has proven difficult to locate documentation and information that relates to the final design and construction of a building. Information can be held by numerous different parties engaged in a construction project, many of whom will no longer have any involvement with the property once the building has been built or sold.
The Building Safety Bill will establish that ‘golden thread’ of information relating to higher risk properties, including high-rise residential buildings and other vulnerable buildings, such as hospitals and care homes.
When will it be law?
The Building Safety Bill passed the third reading in the House of Commons on 19 January 2022.
The Bill is expected to become law in 2022, assuming there are no major delays. The
Stephen McMenzie says: “Traditionally, the construction industry has been slow to adopt technology, but the implementation of the Building Safety Bill emphases how important it is to have a digital chain of actions readily available at every stage of a construction project – not only to keep people safe, but to hold people accountable.
“From communications to data sharing, health and safety or innovative construction methods, technology can help the construction industry work smarter, faster and safer.
“Easy to use digital systems like Ed Controls save time and reduce the risk of errors. Automated audits, quality checks and reports can be compiled quickly and issued for review.
“With all data stored on the cloud, your information is secure, up-to-date, and always available at the touch of a button.”
The Ed Controls construction snagging app is an all in one project management solution.
With it, you can digitally record information, consult documents and assign action points to the right person.
You can monitor quality and cooperation between teams from start to finish and efficiently manage your projects.
Build in Digital stakeholder Ed Controls is an IT company that helps organisations to get the best out of themselves by developing innovative software that makes it possible to work in a smart, effective, and time-saving way.
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