The 14th June will mark the five year anniversary of the Grenfell Tower disaster. The Government has been understandably keen that this particular anniversary should not be marked without their flagship legislation on building safety - the Building Safety Bill – being finalised.
Promising the biggest revolution in building safety for 40 years, it was inevitable that such an important piece of legislation would be contentious in its drafting and as late as this Tuesday significant amendments were still on the table. Amongst these were amendments that would have brought the definition of "relevant building" caught by the Bill to include buildings of all heights containing two or more dwellings; and a cap of zero on contributions from affected leaseholders.
However, the Government were successful in resisting these amendments and late on Tuesday 26th April the Lords passed the Bill.
And today, Thursday 28th April, the Building Safety Bill receiving Royal Assent.
That though, marks the start of a process that will have major ramifications for occupier, developers, contractors, product suppliers, the insurance market….. the list is long. There will follow a transitional period during which provisions of the new Act will come into force. Over the coming months (and possibly years) we will also see a raft of secondary legislation enacted that will put in place the mechanisms that will give the new Act effect.
The new Act will apply to residential buildings over 11m in height and give protection to leaseholders from the costs of remediating defective or unsafe buildings. Those costs will instead be passed down to the developers, building freeholders or block owners. Where none can be found a £3bn fund, paid for by a levy on developers is to be set up.
We will of course be reporting further on the details of the new Act, subsequent secondary legislation and its consequences for the industry. But for those in the industry that haven't already started planning for how the new Act will affect your business, now is the time to start.