Ann McGauran 03 April 2020

Government announces ‘biggest changes to building safety in a generation’

The Government has announced steps to further reform building safety, including mandatory sprinkler systems and consistent wayfinding signage in all new high-rise blocks over 11 metres tall.

They are designed to incentivise compliance and to better enable the use of enforcement powers and sanctions, including prosecution.

The Government’s construction expert David Hancock has also been appointed to review the progress of removing unsafe aluminium composite material ACM cladding from buildings.

Housing secretary Robert Jenrick will hold a roundtable with mortgage to work on an agreed approach to mortgage valuations for properties in buildings under 18 metres tall, with the aim of providing certainty for owners affected by vital building safety work.

Mr Jenrick said the measures meant the Government was ‘bringing about the biggest change in building safety in a generation’.

He said it had ‘made a major step towards this by publishing our response to the Building A Safer Future consultation’.

The new regime would, he added, ‘put residents’ safety at its heart and follows the announcement of the unprecedented £1bn fund for removing unsafe cladding from high-rise buildings in the Budget’.

He also announced that the housing industry is designing a website so that lenders and leaseholders can access the information needed to proceed with sales and remortgaging, ‘and the Government stands ready to help to ensure this work is completed at pace’.

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