FPA reacts to newly launched Building Safety Bill


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Following last week’s development of the Building Safety Bill receiving royal assent, the FPA and other organisations in the industry have issued their responses to the news.

As we reported last week, The Bill received royal assent on 28 April after months of debate and amendments, and has passed into law as the Building Safety Act 2022.

The 252 page Bill is intended to “create lasting generational change” to the way high-risk and residential buildings are constructed and maintained. 

Jonathan O’Neill OBE, Managing Director of the FPA, commented:

“Of course we welcome the passing of the Building Safety Act; better late than never! We do however remain concerned that such a major piece of legislation and change in the regulatory structure needs to be supported by significant additional resourcing, and as far as we can ascertain, such a commitment from government remains outstanding.

“The Act has also been amended so many times that we are still unclear on important aspects, such as the implications of removing the requirement for a Building Safety Manager, and the role of Approved Inspectors going forward.

“Few were in favour of the two-tier approach to Building Regulation initially set out in the original Bill, but accepted the practical reality that given the need to act quickly, high-risk properties would be first through the process with other buildings following in time. 

“Whilst the word ‘proportional’ has been introduced in more recent vocabulary in relation to the widening of applicability of the new legislation, we believe that in order to ensure the safety of occupants and resilience of the wider built environment this needs to happen quickly with the views of all stakeholders given due regard.

“We accept and welcome that more buildings are now in scope, in June it will be five years since Grenfell, and we are only just about to start the process of change.”

Dr Justin Maltby-Smith, Managing Director of BAFE Fire Safety Register also responded to the news, saying: “BAFE share the same mentality of the Construction Industry Council (CIC), in that the Building Safety Act will help usher in the much needed culture change in safety for all stages of a building’s lifecycle.

“BAFE also agree that this culture change requires substantial communication by Government to help educate the full extent of requirements introduced. Whilst the act introduces changes in how residential buildings are built, managed, and regulated, BAFE hope this correspondingly marks the beginning of a stronger concentration on commercial/non-domestic building safety responsibilities.

“The BAFE competency schemes will continue to represent the best levels of quality working within the fire and life safety industry and trust that UKAS accredited third-party certification will become a stronger competency requirement to demonstrate compliance to legislation moving forward.”

The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) has issued a response to the news, stating: “While we know that there is set to be secondary legislation and guidance, making sure the details of this are right will be essential for industry and firms across the country to effectively implement the changes required.

“The industry will need a clear brief from government on the timeline moving forward, detail as to when the legislation will be ready and information on any consultations that will be brought in to allow industry to support at pace. It’s critical for the RICS and other organisations representing the professions impacted by the Act to have the opportunity to offer their continued support in finding and shaping the solutions alongside government.

“We also need government intervention on finding a solution for PII for those firms who are carrying out wider fire risk and building safety assessments and those carrying out the remediation work, as well as for all those involved in the design, construction, and management of high-risk buildings.”

The RICS also expressed concern that the professional indemnity insurance (PII) market remains too weak to meet the needs of the industry, saying: “It needs delivery of the long-awaited government External Wall Systems PII scheme to support professionals carrying out external wall assessments, which is a fundamental element in enabling industry to make buildings safe and affording consumers the reassurances they have long waited for.”

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