Published 24 November 2020

NFCC welcomes draft Building Safety Bill report

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The National Fire Chiefs Council has today welcomed a Report from the Housing, Communities and Local Government Select Committee into the draft Building Safety Bill.

A number of recommendations in the report reflect some of the issues and concerns put forward by the NFCC in its evidence to the inquiry.

NFCC Chair, Roy Wilsher, said: “Whilst we have welcomed the significant step forward that this legislation represents, this important report reiterates a number of the key concerns that NFCC has expressed as part of the scrutiny process on this draft Bill to date.

“There is continued confusion over how the provisions in this Bill will interact with existing legislation and, specifically, how the roles and responsibilities of the Responsible Person, Accountable Persons and the Building Safety Manager will be set out. We welcome the Committee’s call for greater clarity through statutory guidance, however we do not believe that a duty to co-operate will go far enough; NFCC believes there needs to be a designed ‘lead’ Accountable Person.

“In terms of scope, we have called for a widening to include buildings such as care homes in the new build process from the outset. Whilst the report does not go as far as we would have liked, it does conclude that scope should be widened in the future, taking particular account of the vulnerability of residents and their ability to evacuate the building. We also support the recommendation for the Government to keep the development of modern methods of construction under review, as well as the publication of product test data.

This report reiterates a number of key concerns NFCC has expressed to date.

Roy Wilsher

“We support the recommendation that the ability for clients to choose their own building control body should be removed across the entire sector, this is something NFCC has consistently called for. In addition, we welcome proposals to strengthen the process for assuring the competence of individuals engaged in design and construction.

“In terms of costs, we continue to hold concerns about the costs of historic remediation being passed onto leaseholders. We do not believe that the costs of serious building defects should end with leaseholders and have called on Government for support and to consider more ways of how costs can be recovered from those who design and construct buildings. We have also suggested that any recharging mechanisms are clearly defined as relating to reasonable maintenance and upkeep costs only.”