April 16, 2020

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‘Biggest changes to building safety in a generation’ says UK Government

In early April, Housing Secretary, Robert Jenrick MP, announced the UK Government’s “ambitious steps to further reform the building safety systems”, in line with the Building a Safer Future consultation.

Sprinklers in schools

Included within the measures were the mandatory installation of sprinkler systems and consistent wayfinding signage in all new high-rise blocks of flats that stand over 11m tall. In addition, a review of the progress of the removal of unsafe ACM claddings from buildings will be undertaken by David Hancock, the Government’s construction expert.

Mr Jenrick highlighted that the reforms are designed to incentivise compliance and to better enable the use of enforcement powers and sanctions. He added: “The Government is bringing about the biggest change in building safety for a generation.

“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.”

With respect to unsafe cladding, the Government has also made it clear that any unsafe materials should be removed from buildings quickly, and continues to be a priority throughout the COVID-19 crisis – though there are additional challenges involved with this, it admits. Included in this are high-rise buildings using Class C or D HPL panels, which do not comply with Building Regulations.

This article originally appeared on IFSEC Global.

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