The Building Safety Bill has now become law in the UK and is designed to promote safety for homes across the country. The government first introduced the bill in July 2021 and it became legal in April this year.
The Bill aims to protect residents and homeowners and places more responsibility on building owners and managers to evaluate safety concerns.
Why was the Bill introduced?
Following on from the 2017 Grenfell Tower disaster, the government recognised that there needed to be some changes to how such buildings are designed, managed and maintained. It sets out requirements for the whole planning and building process of a residential building, ensuring every safety aspect has an accountable individual.
It also highlights the need to ensure the continued safety of these buildings after the build, giving residents more power over any issues.
What this means for residents and owners
Those living in high-rise buildings will have more control over its management and those responsible have a duty of care to address any concerns. The time frame for homeowners to claim compensation for poor building work will also increase to 15 years. This means that claims can be made on any properties built during the past 15 years, even before the law was put in place.
Those who own such buildings will be required by law to meet strict safety standards from the design and planning process, right through to maintenance once the build is complete. Buildings considered most at risk will be overseen and regulated by a Building Safety Regulator.
The Bill will also be taken into account by conveyancing solicitors when dealing with the selling or buying of property on behalf of clients.
What are the benefits of the Bill?
The Bill aims to primarily protect residents and homeowners and should establish a strict code of building safety, especially to those living in high-rise and high-risk buildings, ensuring any incidents, such as the Grenfell Tower, disaster don’t happen again.
It should also provide financial stability for those living in these buildings, especially if they previously failed to claim compensation over a building safety issue. It means that those renting such properties are exempt from costs relating to maintaining or adding suitable cladding. This was a key factor in the Grenfell disaster, along with unsatisfactory water supply and smoke extraction system.
The bill gives the government the power to prosecute housebuilders for failing to install or fix fire safety tools and equipment, therefore shifting accountability towards those who own rather than reside in the properties.