New regulator, working under the purview of the HSE, will be established immediately in “shadow form” with further details of its function unveiled once new legislation is passed
The government has announced this week that it has established a new Building Safety Regulator that will operate under the purview of the Health and Safety Executive with immediate effect.
Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick announced on 20 January that the new regulator, currently introduced in “shadow form”, was intended to raise building safety and performance standards.
Full establishment of the Building Safety Regulator would follow once new legislation is passed, according to an official statement on the new body.
Mr Jenrick said that the revised regulator would draw on the experience of other industry regulators in looking to oversee a more stringent safety regime, particularly for ‘higher risk’ buildings.
The government said, “Building owners are responsible for ensuring their buildings are safe and where there is no clear plan for remediation, the government will work with local authorities to support them in their enforcement options.”
Dame Judith Hackitt would continue to act as an independent advisor on the new body as government prepared to transition to the new regulatory system.
Dame Judith oversaw the Independent Review of Building Regulations and Fire Safety that was launched following the Grenfell Tower fire in 2017.
Publication of the review in 2018 saw demands for widescale reforms of current industry practice over fears about a regulatory structure that was not fit for purpose.
Key questions remain over the exact nature of the regulator’s new powers and structure. One vital area of reform previously identified by specialists from across the HVAC and built environment sector to ensure competence and clear responsibility is upheld and assigned across the entire lifecycle of a building’s operation.
Mr Jenrick claimed that the initial announcement of the new regulator was part of measures to introduce what he claimed would be the biggest change in building safety for a generation.
He said, “Progress on improving building safety needs to move significantly faster to ensure people are safe in their homes and building owners are held to account.”
A call for evidence has also been launched as part of the proposals looking for feedback on how best to assess and prioritise fire safety risks, particularly around the complexity of existing buildings.
Feedback will be accepted on the consultation until 17 February.