News | Published October 24 2019

Queen's Speech outlines bill which addresses Townsend and Renaudon Chartered Surveyors' concerns

The Queen's Speech, which set out the domestic agenda for Boris Johnson's government in October, included the implementation of new building safety standards within one of its 22 proposed bills.

The Queen informed parliament that the government will "bring forward laws to implement new building safety standards", acting on government proposals in June which planned for a new independent Building Safety Regulator to be established.

The news from the Queen's Speech goes some way toward addressing a concern that construction industry expert Townsend & Renaudon Chartered Surveyors, a best practice representative in the 2018/19 Parliamentary Review, said had been a "plague" on the sector.

Ryszard Kawak, a partner at the Stoke-on-Trent firm which has been established since 1945, wrote in the 2018/19 Parliamentary Review: "The issue of health and safety is a high priority in our objective to ensure that contractors and clients understand their obligations throughout the design and construction process.

"Over two decades ago, we were one of the first practices to offer construction design management [CDM] services in the country.

"We now offer the service to all our clients because we feel very strongly about health and safety, the absence of which has been a plague on the construction industry for many years."

The new independent regulator which the government seeks to establish would see that contractors, designers and building owners remains compliant with safety regulations.

The framework for the management of construction products would be enforced UK-wide, with the building safety framework mainly to apply in England.

The legislation also draws on Dame Judith Hackitt's independent review of building regulations, which would pave the way for a new fire safety framework for high-rise residential buildings, which the government says could affect around 15,000 high-rise builds in the next ten years.

In the wake of the Grenfell Tower disaster, the fire safety framework make accountability far clearer. It will also be more stringently enforced and come with strict sanctions to deter non-compliance, along with a "stronger and clearer framework" for a national oversight of construction products.

Melanie Leech, chief executive of the British Property Federation, has urged the public to have faith in the government's framework plans, but warned that it must be properly resourced in order to be effective.

Leech said: "The public needs to have confidence in high-rise residential buildings and in the framework that the government has been working on.

"As with other legislation, however, it is only as good as the resource that is put into making any new system workable."

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Authored by

Scott Challinor
Business Editor
October 24 2019

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