Building Safety Bill – all change

As the much anticipated and much talked about Building Safety Bill continues to work its way through Parliament on its inevitable to way to Royal Assent, the Government has now seen fit to make a raft of significant changes.

The Bill has been anticipated in the housing industry for some time and is intended to be the first major piece of legislation in the wake of the Grenfell disaster. The Government remains committed to putting building safety atthe fore of home building and home management, but some key changes have now been made.

A cornerstone of the bill had been the creation of certain enforced roles. One of such, the role of the Building Safety Manager, has now been completely done away withalongside the proposed building safety charge that would’ve been used to pay for this role.

The role of the Building Safety Manager had originally been mandatory for landlords to have for high rise buildings. The role was to ensure compliance of technicalsafety features throughout, as well as a clear emphasis on fire safety. There had been concerns of the potential for this role to be deemed uninsurable due to the risk nature, and concerns raised over the cost of paying this role, particularly in leasehold properties. The proposed charge to this has now been scrapped also, but building safety costs in general will be incorporated into leasehold service charges.

It represents quite the change, in particular given that some RPs and private landlords will no doubt have already recruited for this role or at very least invested time and money in developing it.

These changes follow the previous changes announced in February in relation to leaseholders paying for cladding works. In properties over 11m, leaseholders are excluded from being charged for cladding works, and in other properties these are now capped at £10,000 or £15,000 inside London.

It would seem the new changes are further designed to protect leaseholders’ costs, something which the Fire Safety Minister Lord Greenhalgh had voiced concerns over previously.

It remains to be seen if there will be any further major changes to the bill before it comes into force, but it does appear a very fluid piece of legislation at this moment.

For more information on this, or any compliance-based issue please contact Andrew Fairman, ‘compliance guru’ at MSB.

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