The Building Safety Bill has now been introduced to the House of Commons, with the First Reading taking place on July 05.
“We welcome the publication of the Building Safety Bill,” said James Dalton, director of general insurance at the Association of British Insurers (ABI). “The ABI has long called for the fundamental reform of our building safety regulations, and this is a landmark opportunity to deliver safer homes and business premises.
“Our industry has a crucial role to play in driving reform, and we are totally committed to working with the government and other stakeholders on these vital reforms.”
Goals of the bill include amending the Architects Act 1997 and to amend provision about complaints made to a housing ombudsman. Members of Parliament will next consider it at Second Reading, the date for which has not yet been announced.
Meanwhile Dalton added: “While there is much to support in this bill, such as the establishment of a Building Safety Regulator and construction products regulations, we want to see its scope extended beyond buildings over 18 metres high. Fire risk consideration should not be constrained to arbitrary height limits.
“We will study the bill’s provisions, including how information on a building’s construction and safety history will be recorded and shared.”
For Douglas Barnett, AXA Insurance mid-market and customer risk management director, the bill’s publication is not only a welcome step but also a necessary one towards “significantly improving” England’s regulations around building and fire safety.
“AXA has long called for government to deliver fundamental reform of the regulatory framework to strengthen oversight across the entire lifecycle of buildings, improve clarity in the responsibilities of all duty holders, and ultimately better protect lives and properties,” stated Barnett, who echoes the ABI’s sentiments.
“As it currently stands,” he noted, “the bill defines higher-risk buildings as being 18 metres or seven storeys and above.
“While we welcome the inclusion of buildings over 18 metres in height likely to be occupied by those unable to evacuate themselves, we urge the government to expand the scope of the bill further to include other high-risk properties at any height, particularly for those buildings that accommodate vulnerable people and are of modern methods of construction.”