Housing and communities secretary James Brokenshire has committed to implementing all of the recommendations contained in the Hackitt review of building regulations and fire safety.
Mr Brokenshire has vowed to “put residents at the heart of the new system of building safety” by “empowering them with more effective routes for engagement and redress”.
The government will establish a joint regulators’ group to trial elements of a new regulatory system ahead of any new proposed legislation. The group will bring existing regulatory bodies together – including representatives from the Local Government Association and Local Authority Building Control, the professional body covering building control teams working in councils, among others – to work with developers and building owners, as well as seeking input from residents and tenants, to develop and test new approaches that may later feature in legislation.
Clearer standards and guidance, including establishing a new standards committee to advise on construction product and system standards and regulation, will also be introduced.
Mr Brokenshire said: “There is nothing more important than being safe in your own home and I am determined to improve building safety.
“My plan for stronger, tougher rules will make sure there is no hiding place for those who flout building safety rules.
“By making people responsible and more accountable for safety, we will create a more rigorous system so residents will always have peace of mind that they are safe in their own homes.”
LGC reported in May how there was disappointment that Dame Judith Hackitt’s review, published in the aftermath of the Grenfell Tower fire, did not go far enough.
Responding to today’s announcement Lord Porter (Con), LGA chair, said: “Since the Grenfell Tower tragedy, the LGA has made the case for fundamental reform of the building regulations system.
“We are pleased that James Brokenshire has committed to implementing these recommendations, and where necessary that government is going beyond them as they have done with the ban on the use of combustible materials.
“The definition of higher risk residential buildings in the Hackitt Review is currently too narrow. It must be extended to all buildings in which vulnerable people sleep other than private homes. Consideration must also be given to lowering the height definition of high-rise buildings from the current definition.
“The LGA is also pleased to be working as part of the Joint Regulators Group to develop the proposals for the Joint Competent Authority. This will help ensure effective enforcement at a local level and that building control, fire and rescue services and the Health and Safety Executive have the powers and sanctions they need to drive cultural change.
“People need to be able to sleep safely at night in their homes. The tragedy at Grenfell Tower must never be allowed to happen again and we look forward to working with the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government to make sure the new system of building regulation works.”