The second report from the Industry Safety Steering Group on the progress of culture change in the construction sector was issued on 5 August, which highlighted the need for further change for the industry now, ahead of the legislation.
The Minister of State for Building Safety and Communities responded to the report in a letter to Dame Judith Hackitt, DBE, chair of the steering group, welcoming the progress towards an overarching system of competence for the new building safety regime. Significant progress has been made towards forming a system of competence, notably with the introduction of the mantra "delivering better and safer buildings" from the Construction Leadership Council.
The report clearly shows that there is still more work to be done in challenging those parts of the construction industry who are waiting for legislation to make the required changes. The Draft Building Safety Bill has provided further clarity on the expectations of the industry and should start to prepare for these changes now.
In addition to the Building Safety Bill, a revision of the Fire Safety Bill now empowers fire and rescue services to enforce meaningful action and condemn building owners if they fail to comply with the law.
What needs to change?
Despite challenging the Government to remove all forms of dangerous cladding in their entirety, disappointingly, three years on from the Grenfell Tower disaster thousands of homeowners remain residing in buildings with traces of dangerous cladding.
Although the original £1 billion Building Safety Fund to remove combustible non-ACM cladding from buildings above 18 metres was introduced, it was soon reported only substantial enough to cover the costs of a third of the 1,700 buildings needing remediation: with many Homeowners enduring the costs necessary for this work to be completed.
In the next year, one important task which we will undertake is to look for ways to recognise and accredit those who are leading the industry in the right direction. We believe that consumers deserve to know who they can trust and those who are showing the right commitment should be recognised.
We all acknowledge that the coming year is going to be challenging for our economy as a whole and that will include the built environment. There remains a pressing need for new homes and for dwellings that are compatible with achieving Net Zero but there can be no question of trade-offs – ensuring that residents feel safe and are safe in their homes remains constant.
What Propertymark thinks
To prevent homeowner stress and financial hardship, the Government urgently needs to commit to eradicating all forms of dangerous cladding. Funds should be renegotiated in order for this process to be quick, efficient, and to adequately cover the amount of work that is needed, including the removal of cladding and resolving wider fire safety concerns.
Supporting and challenging our industry to deliver culture change is more vital now than ever and being one step closer to ensuring that people are safe within the confines of their own homes: as standard.