• Kevin Murphy

UK: Building Safety Reforms

The government announced today new steps to to continue reforms in the building safety reform to ensure the safety of homes The new recommendations by Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick MP include mandatory sprinkler systems and way finding signage in all new tower blocks of flats exceeding 11 metres tall.

Construction expert David Hancock has been placed in charge of the review process of removing ACM cladding on buildings. The new reforms should help in the use of enforcement powers for compliance when rules are not being followed. For tower blocks under the height of 18 metres the Housing Secretary will be meeting with mortgage lenders on these particular buildings mortgage valuations.

Housing Secretary Rt Hon Robert Jenrick MP said:

"The government is bringing about the biggest change in building safety for a generation."

"Today we have made a major step towards this by publishing our response to the Building a Safer Future consultation (https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/building-a-safer-future-proposals- for-reform-of-the-building-safety-regulatory-system). This new regime will put residents’ safety at its heart, and follows the announcement of the unprecedented £1 billion fund for removing unsafe cladding from high-rise buildings in the Budget."

"Today we are also announcing that the housing industry is designing a website so lenders and leaseholders can access the information needed to proceed with sales and re-mortgaging, and the government stands ready to help to ensure this work is completed at pace."

Recent announcements include:

An allocation £1 billion for 2020/21 for remediation of unsafe non-ACM cladding materials on high-rise towers that will be added to the £600 million for the remediation already planned. This includes naming building owners who have not removed ACM from their property and a new Fire safety Bill that will be delivering the next phase of recommendations from the Grenfell Tower Inquiry.

Testing results of non-ACM (aluminum composite material) just published by the government show that none of the materials including high-pressure laminate (HPL) and timber cladding reacted similarly to ACM.

"The government is clear that any unsafe materials should be removed from buildings quickly. External wall systems on high-rise buildings using Class C or D HPL panels are unsafe and should be removed as they do not comply with building regulations."

"The government recognises the challenges presented to the building industry by COVID-19. The work to remove unsafe cladding from buildings is critical to public safety and so remains a top priority."

"The government is supporting building owners, managers and residents to ensure remediation work continues where it is safe to do so. The government has also made clear that vital maintenance and repair work can continue to take place in line with public health guidance."

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