Opinion

The new era of statutory control

Construction professionals will soon face a tougher regulatory backdrop, writes Christine Gausden
Image: Dreamstime
Image: Dreamstime

Fundamental changes to legislation are pending by virtue of the draft Building Safety Bill. Together with the existing Fire Safety Bill and fire safety consultation, this bill will improve building and fire safety, leading to safer occupancy. These changes are important to be aware of as they will have an impact on our industry and affect how we build and maintain our buildings.

Those responsible for the safety of residents will be accountable for errors and will need to adapt quickly or face serious consequences.

The building safety regulator will be overseeing safety and standards of all buildings, especially those deemed higher risk, and they will seek to improve the competence of responsible parties managing and overseeing works. High-rise residential buildings will be subject to a more stringent set of rules with more clarity as to who is responsible for managing risk and enabling the ‘golden thread’ of information, gathered over the life of a building.

“Those responsible for the safety of residents will be accountable for errors and will need to adapt quickly or face serious consequences”

Amendments to the existing Fire Safety Order will include unlimited fines for anyone obstructing or impersonating a fire inspector and the requirement for fire risk assessments to be recorded for all buildings and undertaken by a ‘competent’ professional.

It’s worth noting that another change coming – albeit quite slowly – is in the form of two standards: the Future Homes Standard and the Future Buildings Standard. Both outline plans to address and find solutions for reducing carbon emissions within the built environment by almost a third. They will enable the provision of more efficient domestic and non-domestic buildings, futureproof our buildings and seek to enhance the wider environment.

It is critical to understand the implications of these changes, to be aware of these requirements and to be prepared for any changes required before they come into force. As someone who teaches the next generation of construction professionals, I welcome these changes and I am supportive of any action which will make our buildings safer and better managed. I would urge anyone reading this, who works within the built environment, to educate yourself as to these changes.

Christine Gausden is the new MSc Construction Management programme leader at University College of Estate Management (UCEM). To find out more about her programme visit www.ucem.ac.uk.

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