Following the Grenfell Tower tragedy, building safety continues to be a key concern for social housing providers and their residents. In July 2019 the government launched the ‘Building a Safer Future’ consultation seeking views on proposals to change the regulatory environment affecting high-risk residential buildings – a copy of our response to that consultation can be found here. The government’s legislative response to the consultation were presented to Parliament on 20 July 2020 in the form of the draft Building Safety Bill ("the Bill").

The Bill aims to implement the ‘biggest improvements to building safety in nearly 40 years’, and proposes reforms based on the principles of:

  • Implementing a more effective regulatory and accountability framework with greater oversight;
  • Providing clearer standards and guidance;
  • Placing residents at the heart of a new system of building safety – more empowered, informed and engaged with effective routes for raising and escalating safety concerns; and
  • Driving a culture change – a more responsible building industry.

Implications for social housing providers

Whilst improvements to building safety will undoubtedly be welcomed by social housing providers and residents, social housing providers will understandably be concerned to understand how the Bill affects their regulatory duties and obligations regarding high risk residential buildings (now defined as “higher risk buildings”).

In this series of e-briefings we will examine key reforms introduced by the Bill, and what these might mean for social housing providers, including:

  • The duty holder regime for higher risk buildings;
  • Establishment of the Building Safety Regulator;
  • The Fire Safety Bill and how this will interact with the Building Safety Bill;
  • Creation of a more effective regulatory framework;
  • Rights of access, charging for fire safety works, and the use of enforcement notices; and
  • Establishment of a new complaints process.
Fire Safety at ACS

Our fire safety experts are experienced in advising social housing providers on building safety issues. We also provide training to social housing providers regarding building safety issues. If you have any questions in relation to this series of e-briefings,or would like to find out more about our bespoke training programme, please contact Lorna Kenyon or Kieran Binnie.