07 December 2020

The Draft Building Safety Bill – an overview and pre-legislative scrutiny

Sarah Buckingham
Senior Associate | UK

As referred to in the previous article, ‘Building Safety – Post-Grenfell’, the draft Bill has far reaching implications for building owners, occupiers and all those involved in the construction industry. The most significant outcome so far of the radical and comprehensive safety review overhaul prompted by the Grenfell Tower tragedy, the Bill lays the foundation for the integrated and rigorous management of building safety from concept through planning, design, construction, commissioning and occupation.

A report by the Housing, Communities and Local Government Committee on the Bill (the ‘Pre-legislative Report’), published on 24 November 2020, notes that the draft Bill ‘could dramatically improve building safety but’ there are also concerns ‘about some of its provisions and, in particular, the lack of detail on key parts of the new regime’.

The draft Bill is apparently on course to be formally laid before Parliament in early 2021 and the plan is for the new regime to come in to place formally in 2023. As the final new Bill will establish onerous duties on individuals and organisations responsible for building safety, the Pre-legislative Report recommends that the Government publish with the Bill a clear timetable for commencement so it is clear by when the industry has to demonstrate compliance and the new Building Safety Regulator establish the regime.

As the Pre-legislative Report also highlights, there is still much work to be done for the Government to work with the industry to identify and resolve outstanding issues, iron out any potential confusion, flesh out the detail of the draft Bill and have secondary legislation ready to publish alongside it. So, the next stage of the Bill’s journey is awaited with anticipation.

However, the message remains the same that developers and the construction industry are urged to start implementing new practices now and not wait for the legislation to catch up. Investors and end users will be equally interested in the evolution and implementation of improved building practices. The attached article is not intended to be a step by step summary of the draft Bill, but focuses on some of the key aspects impacting on building owners and residents and highlights some of the recent recommendations made since the Bill was first published on 20 July 2020.

Sarah Buckingham Senior Associate | London

Category: Article