UK to appoint chief inspector of buildings to address safety fears
Ministers are to appoint the UK’s first chief inspector of buildings in reforms prompted by the Grenfell Tower Fire disaster and the discovery that thousands of other high-rise buildings breach fire safety regulations.
The inspector will lead a national regulator of building safety that will also oversee a system to designate an accountable person for each high-rise building who will be obliged to respond to residents’ complaints. Following the 2017 fire, tenants and leaseholders of Grenfell Tower said their fears about the safety of their homes were ignored by their landlords.
“It will ensure that high-rise buildings and the people who live in them are being kept safe and will have new powers to raise and enforce higher standards of safety and performance across all buildings,” said a spokesperson for the Department of Housing, Communities and Local Government ahead of the publication of the draft building safety bill on Monday. “The regulator will appoint a panel of residents who will have a voice in the development of its work.”
The move comes as the public inquiry into the Grenfell disaster continues to hear evidence of how the designers and builders of the disastrous recladding of the tower managed to erect a system that breached building codes but still won approval from the local authority’s building inspectors.
The new regulator will oversee the safety and standard of all buildings, directly assure the safety of higher-risk buildings, and will be tasked with improving the competence of people responsible for managing and overseeing building work.
“These are the biggest changes to building safety legislation for nearly 40 years, and they will raise standards across the industry and ensure building owners have nowhere to hide if they break the rules,” said Lord Greenhalgh, the building safety and fire minister.
Read more at The Guardian.