Building safety must be properly enforced for new measures to protect people says chief executive Mike Robinson
The British Safety Council has today welcomed the government’s draft Building Safety Bill. Many of the measures had previously been trailed and today marks the formal publication of a range of measures outlined in the wake of the tragic fire at Grenfell tower three years ago. According the Ministry of Housing Communities and Local Government, the bill takes forward the government’s commitment to fundamental reform of the building safety system. It includes measures to implement the principles and recommendations of Dame Judith Hackitt’s Independent Review of Building Regulations and Fire Safety. The government has also today published a consultation on Fire Safety.
The bill formally creates a new national regulator for the safety of buildings, working with local authorities and environmental health departments. The government has asked HSE to establish a new building safety regulator to oversee the safe design, construction and occupation of high-risk buildings so that residents are safe and feel safe. It will be independent and give expert advice to local regulators, landlords and building owners, the construction and building design industry, and to residents.
Last week, Mike Robinson, chief executive of the British Safety Council, wrote to the housing minister Chris Pincher MP asking for an urgent update on the building safety bill. He expressed his concern at the slow progress in removing dangerous ACM cladding from high-rise residential buildings saying: “While I know you share my frustration at the slow progress since 2017, I would be grateful if you could focus all the efforts of your officials in addressing this important issue of public safety.”
Speaking today Mike Robinson, said:
“I am glad that the bill has now been published, even if after such a long wait. The measures set out by the government in the Building Safety Bill should mean that building owners have nowhere to hide if they break the rules. But if that is to mean anything for residents and workers in potentially unsafe buildings then the government has got to stump up for it. The HSE has a great track record, but if they are to live up to the expectations of this bill then they must be properly resourced. The reality is that over the last decade funding has halved, and staff numbers cut by a third.”
He went on to say:
“Alongside establishing a sound financial basis for the new building safety regulator, we must see local authorities given the resources they need to inspect and enforce regulations. Enforcement must be able to make its presence felt – as I have said before, local authorities need hard cash as well as teeth.”