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24 June 2019
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GOVERNMENT MOOTS ‘BUILDING SAFETY REGULATOR’ FOR HOUSING SECTOR

10 June 2019 | Herpreet Kaur Grewal


The government is proposing a new building safety regulator as a part of its consultation on building safety reform.

 

Building a Safer Future: Proposals for Reform of the Building Safety Regulatory System states that such a body would carry out “inspection and enforcement activity itself, and/or through working with existing local regulators, will address this in part”.

 

In addition, it states that the responsibilities of duty holders/accountable persons in the design, construction and occupation phases “will be underpinned by criminal offences, as will the broader regime envisaged for construction products”.

 

In her Independent Review, Dame Judith called for increased regulatory oversight and for the sanctions and enforcement regime to be reinforced so that penalties are an effective deterrent against non-compliance.

 

Rebecca Rees, partner at Trowers & Hamlins LLP, said the consultation “should result in a fundamental legislative reform of building safety requirements”, adding that “it is essential that all involved in the design, construction, operation and occupation of high-risk residential buildings take the opportunity to respond to government proposals”.

 

But housing charity Shelter said it feared this “will not go far enough to ensure that the health, safety and well-being of all tenants is protected”. It said it wants the government to introduce “a tough, new consumer regulator that protects tenants and proactively inspects social landlords”.

 

Figures released by Shelter show that over half (56 per cent) of social renters in England – five million people – have experienced a problem with their home in the past three years, including electrical hazards, gas leaks and faulty lifts. Among those who had a problem, one in 10 had to report it more than 10 times, suggesting that tenants are still being failed by poor regulation.