The British Safety Council shares concerns that the current regime governing building safety is considered to be not fit for purpose and in clear need of reform to ensure tragedies like the Grenfell fire do not happen again.
While the aims of the Government’s draft legislation broadly address the main issues, it is our view that it lacks the requisite detail to demonstrate that the proposed measures would be effective in practice.
The British Safety Council supports greater independent oversight on key professions in the construction and building management sectors to ensure the success of the newly created roles of accountable person and building safety manager. However, the Government must clarify what the precise responsibilities will be. It must make the new requirements and responsibilities on the different sectors involved clear from the outset if these are to be effective.
Additionally, the frankly unjust prospect that leaseholders may face the costs of specific remediation work to improve fire safety in existing buildings must come to an end. In its current form, the legislation provides the potential for the cost of resolving existing fire safety issues to be passed on to leaseholders and this should be removed.
Mike Robinson, the British Safety Council’s Chief Executive, commented,
“If the new regulations are to secure public confidence, they need to be transparent. A good example is on the testing of building material. The tests themselves must be rigorous to prove fire safety but the results must be publicly available, particularly where materials have failed to meet regulatory standards.
We have said, on many occasions, that it is unacceptable for leaseholders to be presented with huge bills to fix existing fire problems not of their making or be unable to sell or insure their homes due to new requirements.
The Government must commit to funding the cost of fire remediation and leaseholders should not have to foot the bill.”