Section: Fire Precautions

White Paper published which proposes a new Building Safety Regime for Wales

Posted 12.01.21
Welsh Government: Further reading

A new White Paper, which proposes a new 'Building Safety Regime' for Wales, signals a significant step forward in plans to improve building safety and introduce key changes to the existing system.

Whilst recognising that important steps needed to be taken to improve safety for residents in high rise buildings, the proposals address the risks in all all buildings.

The White Paper accepts that a 'one size fits all' approach is not appropriate for a diverse range of buildings and it takes a pragmatic and proportionate approach to safety measures, which differ according to risk and building type.

At the heart of the proposals for occupied buildings is a completely new system of identifying, assessing and mitigating the risks of fire. This is designed to address the risks that typically exist in blocks of flats, and will replace the current arrangements which were designed for workplaces. It will be easier for landlords to apply and for residents to understand.

The White Paper also proposes a number of new duty holder roles. One of the most problematic aspects of the current system is how difficult it can be to identify who is responsible for safety in a building.

The proposals introduce roles during the design and construction of buildings, and when they are occupied, to ensure that those in positions of authority are clear on their responsibilities and can be held accountable.

It also accepts that regulation is a critical element and accepts that further consultation is required, with a commitment to not shying away from significant change if this will deliver the best system to improve safety.

The White Paper also proposes significantly enhances in residents' rights, empowering them to have more say in the matters that affect their homes.

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Flat owners applying for government grant to remove cladding told not to talk to press

Posted 10.01.21
BBC News: Further reading

Flat owners applying to a fund to help pay to remove flammable building cladding will be told not to talk to the press without government approval.

This BBC News report refers to a draft agreement uncovered by the Sunday Times, which is claimed to say - even where there is "overwhelming public interest" in speaking to journalists, the government must be told first.

The government is reported to have said the wording was "standard".

After the 2017 Grenfell fire, the government pledged that safe alternatives to dangerous cladding would be provided on all buildings in England taller than 18 metres.

It set up a £1.6 billion fund last year to repair the most dangerous buildings. But it warned that the fund might not cover all the costs of removing the cladding

The agreement, between the building owner or leaseholder and the government, is reported to include: "The Applicant shall not make any communication to the press or any journalist or broadcaster regarding the Project or the Agreement (or the performance of it by any Party) without the prior written approval of Homes England and the Ministry for Housing, Communities and Local Government".

It says an exception can be made "where such disclosure is in the overwhelming public interest (in which case disclosure will not be made without first allowing Homes England and MHCLG to make representations on such proposed disclosure)".

The UK Cladding Action Group tweeted that it was "clearly a matter of public interest that these issues were aired in public".

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Reporting on January 2021

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