There are few things that are certain in this world and change is one of them. The most significant change for the property industry is the new fire safety legislation that has been put in place following the tragic events of Grenfell. Many lessons were learned following the Dame Judith Hackett review and we embrace all recommendations for the good of all who occupy a flat; not just those in a high-rise building.
On 5th July, the Government published its conclusion of the changes required to enact the new Building Safety Bill, ensuring the high standards of fire safety can continually be met. Key points of the bill include:
1. The creation of the Building Safety Manager (BSM) role will pull together all the information about a building, and currently applies to those in the six-storey/18m tall category. The information gathering is known as the ‘Golden Thread’. The BSM will be required to have a detailed knowledge of the construction methods and fire safety measures put into place during construction. But, for those buildings already in existence, the changes enable redress on the developers for substandard construction and fire safety work up to 15 years. This reform also enables compensation to be obtained for such acts of negligence, giving great comfort to those leaseholders with genuine concerns over the safety of their buildings.
2. The new Building Safety Regulator will hold responsible those ‘persons accountable’ for the safety of the building’s occupiers. The responsible person being either a Freeholder or Developer.
3. Leaseholders and occupiers will be given more routes to raise concerns about fire safety with mechanisms to ensure their concerns will be heard and taken seriously. Furthermore, a legal framework was put into place to ensure the Freeholder or Developer has explored all other alternative routes to remediation before passing on the cost to the leaseholders. Evidence has to be provided that the Freeholder or Developer was unable to secure funding to carry out the remediation. This news will be welcomed by all leaseholders facing the costly invoices to replace unsafe cladding.
4. Developers will be required to be Members of the New Homes Ombudsman Scheme to enable leaseholders to seek redress where there is a need.
We are working hard behind the scenes to expand our in-house Health & Safety team to enhance our Property Managers’ knowledge of fire safety in buildings along with creating a position for a Building Safety Manager.
We are looking forward to embracing the new challenges ahead so that all occupiers of a flat can rest assured knowing they are in safe hands with AFP.