New Building Safety Legislation

The government is working on several pieces of new legislation designed to improve safety in residential buildings.

In the post Grenfell era, there is a clear focus on the need to tighten standards and improve the safety of residents.

The Fire Safety Act recently passed into law, mandating inspection of fire doors, external walls, the front doors of flats and the fire compartmentation in the common parts of blocks.

There is the threat of penalties and prosecution of “responsible persons”, generally landlords, who fail to comply.

The draft Building Safety Bill, published in July 2021, is intended to enhance disciplines in how buildings are built and maintained.

Among other provisions, the ultimate legislation is likely to create a new role of Building Safety Manager in “higher risk” buildings, and to require a “golden thread” of building data to be maintained.

There are calls for the bill to include a statutory framework for the recovery of fire safety remediation costs from responsible parties, where a building was not constructed in line with building regulations in force at the time.

If adopted, this would remove the current requirement for landlords and agents to pursue cost recovery, and for leaseholders to take action against developers. This would be replaced by shifting costs directly to those responsible for poor materials, workmanship or construction standards.

E&J Estates is broadly supportive of these changes, with the caveat that new measures should be proportionate, particularly in relation to any additional costs involved.

E&J Estates and its network of agents are focussed on complying with all legislation, whatever its eventual shape.

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