Big Changes to Building Safety ahead as the Government publishes Building Safety Bill

  21 JULY, 2020
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The new measures outlined in the draft bill represent the “biggest changes to building safety for nearly 40 years” and are ultimately intended to help “people feel safer in their homes.”


3 years on from Grenfell

The Grenfell Tower fire that broke out in West London on 14 June 2017 claimed 72 lives; a national tragedy that represented the biggest loss of life in a residential fire since WWII.

This tragic event exposed serious and systemic failings in fire safety, particularly in high-rise homes in urban areas.

A subsequent independent review conducted by Dame Judith Hackitt, concluded that the whole system needed full-scale reform and that residents’ safety must always be the priority – from the initial design phase, through to construction and occupation.


Building Safety Bill

This week, the government published its draft Building Safety Bill, which has been formed in conjunction with residents through engagement groups, sets out how the Government will improve building and fire safety.

Amongst the measures set out by the draft bill are:

  • People living in high rise buildings will be empowered to challenge inaction from their building owner
  • Residents will have better access to safety information about their building.
  • A new Building Safety Regulator will be given powers to hold building owners accountable for safety
  • A ‘building safety charge’ will give leaseholders greater transparency around costs incurred in maintaining a safe building
  • Building inspectors responsible for signing-off buildings as fit for habitation, will have to follow new rules and must register with the Building Safety Regulator.
  • Up to two years in prison and unlimited fines for breaches of building regulations.

Building Safety Regulator

The Building Safety Regulator will be in effect the building control authority for all work on high risk buildings and will operate a unified regulatory structure for all building control bodies.

This addresses the complaint that local authority building control and approved inspectors were subject to different professional standards.

Developers will no longer be able to appoint their own building control body, instead the Building Standards Regulator will appoint a registered building inspector to help enforce building regulations.


Dame Judith Hackitt said:

“I welcome this draft bill as an important milestone in delivering the fundamental reform this industry needs to make residents and buildings safer. It meets the ambitions and recommendations set out in my review,” (The Construction Index)

“The industry is now on notice that the race to the bottom, the fragmentation, the passing on of responsibility to others has to stop.”

“We all understand that businesses will need to work hard to survive in these challenging economic times but the safety of residents must become core to building new and maintaining existing properties.”

(Building.co.uk)

As this is a “draft” Building Safety Bill, all aspects are still open to debate and amendment before it is presented to the House of Commons or House of Lords and ultimately enshrined in UK law.

A copy of the full document is available on the Government website or by clicking here.

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NOVUS AND DULUX DONATE MATERIALS TO A LOCAL SPECIAL SCHOOL

Novus were already working on a building refurbishment contract at Horton Lodge Special School in Rudyard, where 3 respite overnight bedrooms were in need of redecoration. Novus and supply partner Dulux were happy to donate materials to the cause.  Horton Lodge Community Special School Situated in the picturesque lakeside village of Rudyard in Staffordshire, lies Horton Lodge School. As a special school, it aims to "provide high-quality teaching and learning where children are challenged and every individual is valued." The school caters for children aged from 2 to 11 years with physical disabilities, with many of the pupils experiencing additional learning difficulties, complex communication needs, and visual and / or hearing impairments. As the Stoke Sentinel reported in September, Horton Lodge was one of five Staffordshire schools that stood to lose funding for children’s overnight stays from this term before the funding cuts were ultimately put on hold. The refurbishment contract Horton Lodge has a residential provision known as "Kiplings" so named due to its proximity to Lake Rudyard. Kiplings is designed and managed to provide a homely environment for the school's children and young people.  The provision is designed to help build independent living skills as children learn to feed and bathe themselves, read to each other, and take part in creative activities. As part of the works, 3 bedrooms within Kiplings were in desperate need of refurbishment and redecoration, as the windows tended to leak into the rooms causing damp damage to the flooring and skirting. Novus were awarded the contract to carry out the refurbishments on the school, these works included: Refitting windows and doors to bedrooms Replacing the carpets Roof repairs Boiler replacement Shower refurbishments When complete, the refurbishments were described as a "real boost" to the school by the Headteacher. Donation of materials At the time, Horton Lodge were asking for donations of paint and curtains to redecorate their bedrooms in time for the return of the children after the summer break. Novus sourced the curtains and window tracks from a local Staffordshire supplier and donated them for use in the bedrooms. Supply partners Dulux also kindly donated the paint required to redecorate the bedrooms, which equated to over 65 litres free of charge. The school caretaker then decorated the bedrooms himself. Chris Lear, Senior Quantity Surveyor at Novus Property Solutions said: "It was our pleasure to donate these materials to Horton Lodge, the work they do with young people here is inspirational and we hope the children enjoy their new bedrooms."

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