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NFCC welcomes Parliamentary progress of Building Safety Bill

31 January 2022

THE NATIONAL Fire Chiefs Council (NFCC) has welcomed the progress of the Building Safety Bill in Parliament. The third reading of the document was completed in the House of Commons on Wednesday 19 January.

Following on from the debate in the House of Commons, Mark Hardingham (chair of the NFCC) said: “The Building Safety Bill is a crucial piece of legislation designed to improve the fire and building safety landscape both now and in the future. We particularly welcome the detailed contributions from members across the House, including those speaking on behalf of residents and leaseholders in their constituencies who have borne the impact of the cladding and remediation issues.”

Hardingham continued: “It’s important that the Bill incorporates safety requirements for both our current building stock and new buildings so that we can ‘turn off the tap’ and prevent any more unsafe buildings from being constructed.”

For its part, the NFCC will continue to urge Government to ensure the right balance between the principles of ‘non-worsening’ and continued improvement.

Hardingham noted: “We would welcome clarification that the new Building Safety Regulator’s powers will be available to use to encourage improvements, such as sprinkler installation, when a building is refurbished.”

Defective Premises Act

Amendments to the Building Safety Bill include a retrospective extension of the limitation period set out in the Defective Premises Act. The proposed extension gives leaseholders up to 30 years to make a claim for compensation.

Gavin Tomlinson, chair of the NFCC’s Protection and Business Safety Committee, commented: “The NFCC supports extending the Defective Premises Act limitation period to give leaseholders longer to claim compensation for building safety defects. We would welcome a joined-up approach across the nations of the UK.”

In conclusion, Tomlinson asserted: “We look forward to understanding the detail on how this will be implemented and on the legal avenues Michael Gove (Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities) outlined should developers refuse to pay. This is particularly important when development companies are closed down once a project is completed, leaving the parent company facing no ongoing legal liability for remediation.”

As the Building Safety Bill moves towards its second reading in the House of Lords, the NFCC will continue to support robust legislation that delivers a safe built environment for the future.