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    HSE TO OVERSEE NEW BUILDING SAFETY REGIME

    Government to deliver biggest change in building safety for a generation

    The Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick has announced new measures to improve building safety including a new Building Safety Regulator within the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), to be established immediately. Secretary Jenrick warned that “the slow pace of improving building safety standards will not be tolerated”.

    To give effective oversight of the design, construction and occupation of high-risk buildings the new regulator will be at the heart of a new regime as part of HSE.

    Building owners are responsible for ensuring their buildings are safe and where there is no clear plan for remediation, the government will work with local authorities to support them in their enforcement options.

    Building owners to be named and shamed

    Speaking in the House of Commons, Mr Jenrick stated that from Feb 2020 he will start to name building owners where remediation has not started to remove unsafe Aluminium Composite Material (ACM) cladding from their buildings. Some building owners have been too slow to act.

    Mr Jenrick confirmed the government will consult on extending the ban on combustible materials to buildings below 18m and seek views on how risks are assessed within existing buildings to inform future policy.

    Housing Secretary Rt Hon Robert Jenrick MP said:

    “The government is committed to bringing about the biggest change in building safety for a generation. Progress on improving building safety needs to move significantly faster to ensure people are safe in their homes and building owners are held to account.

    That’s why today I’m announcing a major package of reforms, including establishing the Building Safety Regulator within the Health and Safety Executive to oversee the new regime and publishing consolidated guidance for building owners.

    Unless swift progress is seen in the coming weeks, I will publicly name building owners where action to remediate unsafe ACM cladding has not started. There can be no more excuses for delay, I’m demanding immediate action.”

    ‘Shadow’ Building Safety Regulator

    HSE will quickly begin to establish the new regulator in “shadow form” immediately, ahead of it being fully established, following legislation.

    The regulator will raise building safety and performance standards, including overseeing a new, more stringent regime for higher-risk buildings.

    The government believes that “with a strong track record of working with industry and other regulators to improve safety HSE will draw on experience and the capabilities of other regulators to implement the new regime”.

    Dame Judith Hackitt will chair a Board to oversee the transition. HSE Chair Martin Temple said:

    “We are proud the government has asked HSE to establish the new Building Safety Regulator.

    HSE’s vast experience of working in partnership with industry and others to improve lives will ensure people are confident the creation of the new regulator is in good hands.”

    Advice on building safety for multi-storey, multi-occupied buildings

    Recent high-rise fires have highlighted that many building owners have still not taken sufficient measures to ensure the safety of residents in buildings at all heights.

    The government appointed independent expert advisory panel (IEAP) has clarified and updated advice to building owners on actions they should take to ensure their buildings are safe, with a focus on cladding.

    This consolidated advice simplifies the language and consolidates previous advice into one place. It makes clear that building owners need to do more to address safety issues on residential buildings under 18m.

    It additionally reflects the independent panel view that cladding material comprised of ACM (and other metal composites) with an unmodified polyethylene core should not be on residential buildings of any height and should be removed.

    A call for evidence will also be published, seeking views on the assessment of risks within existing buildings. This important step will help to gather ideas and lead to research which will provide a firm evidence base to guide decisions for both existing buildings and future regulatory regimes.

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