The Building Safety Bill was granted Royal Assent on 28th April 2022. This means that whilst it may not deliver what everyone wants, it is a step in the right direction. This act aims to fundamentally change the way UK property is designed, built, and managed. Thus, closer to resolving the building safety crisis and giving leaseholders more protection. However, the bill comes with hundreds of clauses which require further clarification through secondary legislation.
RICS has released an article on their website which details their intended solutions to the concerns which surround the bill. They continue to work constructively with Government, the Building Safety Regulator (BSR within HSE), BSI and industry to support the measures in the Building Safety Act to be implemented swiftly. We have summarised the points they have raised in the article below.
Timing & Clarification
It is imperative that organisations such as RICS who represent our profession (and others impacted by the act) can give their valuable input. The industry will need a clear brief from our government outlining the timeline going forward. This includes when the legislation will be ready and forewarning any consultations to be brought in. Therefore, allowing the industry to support it at pace.
Professional Indemnity Insurance
Whilst PII does not feature in the bill, RICS feel it is a vital component in the implementation of the Act. Currently, it seems the PII market is too weak to meet the requirements of the industry. This is a point RICS have pursued since late 2018 and continue to call out. They feel it needs delivery of the long-awaited Government EWS (External Wall Systems) PII scheme to support professionals that are carrying out external wall assessments. Furthermore, they also need the Government to intervene to find a solution for PII firms providing wider fire risk and building safety assessments and those carrying out remediation; and for all those involved in HRBs design, construction, and management.
RICS continues to support the Government to review holistic ways to fund the remediation programme. But ultimately up-front funding should be made available to leaseholders along with a clear timeline for remediation. Consequently, enabling mortgage lending, meaning sellers can sell, and buyers can proceed with confidence.