In response to Grenfell, the government commissioned a series of tests to understand how ACM cladding materials combined with different types of insulation behave in a fire. These results have informed the Governments and the wider industry response and has led to continuing investigations into fire reactivity of other types of external wall systems.
Although the Grenfell Tower Inquiry is still ongoing, the Hackitt Independent Review of Building Regulations and Fire Safety also identified serious systemic issues and it’s clear that there are many buildings in the UK which have fire safety and/or external wall system issues and in some cases wholesale breaches of building regulations.
We have a knowledgeable and expert team who help clients with properties and historic construction projects which are facing fire safety claims connected to building, fire safety and other external wall construction related issues.
The message is clear that building and fire safety can no longer be seen as a tick-box exercise and the spirit of the reforms should flow through into day-to-day business. We can help you lay the foundations for best practice now, by making sure you are familiar with your obligations at each stage of a building’s lifecycle. We’ll help you consider the resources, procedures, policies and processes you’ll need, as well as any training that might be necessary.
The extended time periods for bringing the various redress claims mean that for developers in particular, it’s worth making sure you’re prepared. You can do this by reviewing your potential exposure to these types of claims, making sure you retain any potentially relevant documents, as well as investigating your ability to claim against any third parties. We also suggest updating third party contractual arrangements and protections and professional indemnity cover. Amendment of your document retention and other relevant policies and process is also advised to ensure these reflect the extended time period for bringing claims.
On 5 July 2021 the government introduced the Building Safety Bill to Parliament. Heralded as the next step in the government’s proposals for fundamental building safety reform, the Bill became law – the Building Safety Act 2022 – on 28 April 2022.
This is a substantial Act with some complex elements – we’ve outlined some of the key points below and more information can also be found in these government factsheets.
The changes introduced by the Act will be phased in over 12-18 months and it seems likely that a fair amount of the detail will be set out in secondary legislation. The government’s suggested timeline can be found here and you can keep an eye out for our upcoming briefings on different aspects of the new law. In the meantime, if you have any queries about how it may affect you, please get in touch with one of the team and we’ll be happy to help.
Key elements of the Building Safety Act include:
“Excellent client service… responsive and diligent.”
“They are dedicated, determined and resourceful, while never losing their common-sense and cost-effective perspective on the case in which they are involved.”