After much debate and discussion, the Building Safety Bill was finally published on 5 July 2021, on the same day that the Prime Minister set out the plan for the “return to normal” at the end of July.
Much as promised by the draft Bill, the changes proposed by the Building Safety Bill (Bill) will mean quite a “new normal” for the built industry from, potentially, the end of 2021.
The Bill runs to over 200 pages and makes amendments to 36 existing pieces of legislation. It makes provision for: standardised and enforced regulation (and regulators); assessed industry competence; enhanced document management; enhanced publication of data; conditional approval prior to planning, construction and occupation; building and residents management; fees; charges; and levies on developers. All in relation to in scope buildings (those over 18m or 7 stories).
The detail of much of these provisions remains “TBC”; detail will follow in secondary legislation.
The Bill also limits the ability of landlords / responsible persons / accountable persons to charge leaseholders for remedial work costs (both retrospectively and prospectively) and contains amendments to the Limitation Act 1980 that permit employers under building contracts and any person who acquires and interest in a ‘dwelling’ to bring an action against a builder or developer up to 15 years after the date that dwelling is completed. The change in time limits equates to a 9 year extension on the current 6 year limitation period. No doubt this will increase the pressure on professional indemnity insurance for those operating in the built environment. That is bound to put extra pressure on the industry in circumstances where the professional indemnity market has already significantly contracted.