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IWFM shaping detailed response to Government’s draft Building Safety Bill

21 September 2020

THE INSTITUTE of Workplace and Facilities Management (IWFM) is formulating its response to the Government’s draft Building Safety Bill, including through a submission to the Parliamentary pre-legislative inquiry on the Bill.

The proposed legislation, which implements the principles and recommendations of Dame Judith Hackitt’s Independent Review of Building Regulations and Fire Safety is described by the IWFM as “a welcome and major step” towards ensuring the safety of buildings and their occupants and avoiding another tragedy such as the Grenfell Tower fire of 2017.

Facilities management professionals are set to be at the forefront of the Building Safety Bill’s implementation through the introduction of the new statutory role of the building safety manager for which the IWFM helped to develop the competence framework. The building safety manager will be responsible for the day-to-day management of fire and structural safety in a building and ensuring residents have a clear point of contact for any safety issues.

Facilities managers are well placed to undertake this role, with many of the IWFM’s own members already taking on the responsibilities that sit within the Bill’s intended scope, thereby underlining the crucial role that the FM profession plays in ensuring the safety of buildings and their occupants.

The IWFM’s expert Life Safety Working Group is leading on shaping the Institute’s response to the inquiry and welcomed any feedback from members to include within its submission, the deadline for which was Monday 14 September.

Focus of response

The IWFM’s response will focus on:

*the scope of the legislation beyond fire and structural safety to ensure an holistic whole building approach

*the need for greater emphasis in the Bill on the critical importance of building management and the equivalence of competence requirements throughout the different stages of the Bill

*greater clarity on how the building safety manager’s competence work will be linked to statutory guidance and its consequent status

concerns around the presentation of the ‘Accountable Person’ role and its implementation on the ground, including their identification, competence and relationship with the building safety manager

*the need for a central register and common assessment of competent people

*the importance of maintaining the golden thread of information

Additional feedback

In addition to its response to the inquiry, the IWFM’s ongoing engagement with the Ministry for Housing, Communities and Local Government, the Health & Safety Executive and British Standards Institution will provide the organisation with additional opportunities to provide feedback on the Bill.

As part of the IWFM’s ‘Navigating Turbulent Times’ webinar series, the Institute expects to hold an episode on building safety on 7 October aimed at industry experts to discuss what key changes are being made to the building safety regime and how the facilities management profession can prepare for them.