Building Safety Bill – disappointment about electrical safety checks for high-rise buildings
Posted on 29th July 2021
Electrical Safety First and many other commentators have said they are disappointed that the recently published Building Safety Bill doesn’t propose mandatory electrical safety checks in high-rise buildings.
Earlier this year a tower block in East London was badly damaged and residents were evacuated after a fire caused by a faulty consumer unit.
In many high-rise blocks there will be a mix of privately rented, social and owner-occupied flats. Without mandatory electrical safety checks for all of them electrical safety and the associated fire risks can depend on the type of tenure for each flat and the awareness of occupants.
The Building Safety Bill proposals
Robert Jenrick, Housing Secretary, has said that the Building Safety Bill will provide the “biggest improvements to building safety in nearly 40 years” following the review of the fire at Grenfell Tower in 2017. However, many of the important final details are not yet agreed.
Overall, there are more than 50 recommendations to improve building safety and to address concerns about a lack of accountability. The Bill will include:
all buildings over 18 metres
a more effective framework for regulation and accountability in the construction industry
clearer standards and guidance.
A new regulator
There are also plans for a Building Safety Regulator to oversee the design, construction, and occupation of high-rise buildings. The Regulator would also give advice to local authorities, landlords and building owners, the construction industry, and building designers, as well as building occupants. Part of these responsibilities will be to add to the knowledge and competence of building control professionals and the introduction of a registration scheme.
It’s important to make sure the government can respond quickly in the future, where necessary, to broaden the definition of ‘higher-risk buildings’ when new information or operational experience highlight issues. This means other buildings could be brought into the scope of the regulations in the future.
The Regulator will oversee key points during the design, construction, occupation, and refurbishment of buildings and will decide who acts as the building’s control body.
Royal Assent for the Bill will depend on Parliamentary time but once enacted it is expected that changes will come into force within 12 to 18 months.
We are happy to undertake large-scale electrical safety inspections, so please get in touch.
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