Building Safety Bill ' Key Additions On Remediation Costs

Publication Date06 Aug 2021
SubjectCorporate/Commercial Law, Real Estate and Construction, Corporate and Company Law, Construction & Planning, Landlord & Tenant - Leases
Law FirmRussell-Cooke Solicitors
AuthorMs Pauline Lam

The much anticipated Building Safety Bill ('the Bill') started its passage through Parliament on 5 July 2021. This came just over four years after the tragic Grenfell Tower fire on 14 June 2017, which prompted a review of fire safety issues in high-rise buildings and regulation of construction professionals and products. A draft version of the Bill was published for consultation just under one year ago on 20 July 2020.

The substantial Bill spans 218 pages and expands upon many familiar features from the draft such as the establishment of a Building Safety Regulator to maintain oversight of building safety with enforcement powers and the creation of a New Homes Ombudsman Scheme to investigate home owners' complaints against developers and order redress that will include payment of compensation and apology. It stipulates a new regime to address fire safety risks for higher-risk buildings that are, broadly, at 18 metres or seven storeys high or above containing two or more dwellings. The new regime includes measures to ensure fire safety issues are considered at key stages of the life cycle of a building's design and construction.

Amendments proposed to the Landlord and Tenant Act 1987 include the introduction of a building safety charge and requirement for a summary of leaseholders' rights and relevant information to be provided when it is demanded from a leaseholder of a higher-risk building. The Bill also provides scope to tighten regulation of construction products by way of secondary legislation to include powers to prohibit marketing of unsafe products as well as withdrawing or recalling such products. The introduction of a developer levy announced in February 2021 has also been included which will be implemented through secondary legislation.

Since the draft bill was published in 2020, there has been much debate on who should bear the burden of the remediation costs of rectifying unsafe cladding and fire safety defects. Two new additions in the Bill relate to this issue.

Time extension

The Bill introduces an extension to the time limitation period for bringing claims under the Defective Premises Act 1972 (the DPA) to 15 years. Where works carried out to a building render a dwelling unfit for habitation on completion, building owners or leaseholders can now make such a claim, regardless of the height of the building, beyond the current limitation period of six years. Controversially the extension will take effect retrospectively and is expected to be in...

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