G15 responses to building safety consultations
The G15 has responded to two building safety-related consultations.
- Consultation on the new safety regime for occupied higher-risk buildings
- Consultation on implementing the new building control regime for higher-risk buildings and wider changes to the building regulations for all buildings.
Consultation on new safety regime for occupied higher-risk buildings
We welcome the opportunity to comment on the government’s Consultation on the new safety regime for occupied higher-risk buildings. We support further clarity on the implementation of numerous key areas within the Building Safety Act related to Higher-Risk Buildings in occupation.
In our response to the consultation questions, we focus on the following key issues, which we would like the government to consider in developing its proposals:
- Further guidance on the roles, responsibilities, formalised agreements and delegated authority that may be needed between the Principal Accountable Person and relevant Accountable Persons.
- Clarity where landlords are missing prescribed building documents in relation to building registration, certification and safety cases, and what measures the regulator will require where these gaps are encountered.
- Further guidance and examples relating to ‘risk conditions’ and ‘safety occurrences’ under the Mandatory Occurrence Reporting regime.
- Guidance on the distinctions between the Mandatory Occurrence Reporting regime and existing systems such as RIDDOR.
- Many members noted the need for landlords to undertake resident engagement strategy consultations to identify the level of information residents want, what their responsibilities and right are, and what platforms and formats they prefer when receiving information.
- Concerns were raised relating to potential provision of technical reports to residents, and voiced a need for more resident friendly information sharing.
- Concerns were raised relating to potential breaches of contractor intellectual property and commercial confidentiality agreements. The subsequent potential risk exposure and reputational damage may require legal consultation and associated impacts to project costs and timelines.
- Guidance was requested on the distinctions between the new Building Safety Regulator processes and existing requirements set by the Ombudsman.
- Further guidance was requested on ‘relevant and proportionate’ data retention proposals. Some members felt that the impact on resourcing to manage and withdraw elements from the Golden Thread was less effective than putting in place an easily accessible and well-managed ongoing archive of data and documents.
- Many members called for Safety Case and Golden Thread data standards, templates and review criteria to be put in place. While some members advocated systems such as Building Information Modeling (BIM) and standards such as ISO19650, others recognised that this was aspirational and not practicable across the entirety of the industry at this time.
In our response to the consultation we make clear our support for the principles, objectives, and ambition of the proposals. We recognise that the regulatory changes will ultimately bring about significant improvement in the construction and building management sectors, and that this will help to safeguard the safety and wellbeing of our residents who are of course at the heart of everything we do. We also recognise and accept that in the short/medium term there will be a period of disruption and difficulty, for ourselves and the industry as a whole, as we contend with the scope and scale of the changes.
It is within this context that we wish to raise some concerns about the practicalities of the implementation. We also wish to extend a general offer to work with the government and/or building safety regulator, and continue a dialogue, so that we can help to find suitable solutions. We have grouped these concerns into the following themes:
- Introduction of the new regime
- Regulator resourcing
- Dutyholder roles and responsibilities
- That the new regulations may not achieve the government’s intended objectives.
- That the delivery of much needed new affordable homes may be put at risk, particularly in the short to medium term.
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