Government adviser to new Building Safety Regulator named

Dame Judith Hackitt will provide independent advice to the Government on how best to establish the powerful new Building Safety Regulator and avoid a similar disaster as the Grenfell Tower fire.

The appointment follows Dame Judith’s Independent Review of Building Regulations and Fire Safety, in which the Government committed to take forward all of her recommendations and go further, by forming a new national Building Safety Regulator.

The regulator will oversee the design and management of buildings, with a strong focus on ensuring the new regime for higher-risk buildings is enforced effectively and robustly. It will also have the power to apply criminal sanctions to building owners who do not obey the new regime.

Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick said: “I am grateful that Dame Judith has agreed to advise my department on the new Building Safety Regulator. Her expertise will be essential to forming a strong regulator with teeth to ensure all residents are safe, and feel safe, in their homes both now and in the future.”

The Government published the consultation on its reforms, Building a Safer Future, in June 2019 and is currently analysing the responses. The proposed new legislation will ensure building owners and developers prioritise residents’ safety over profit and will:

  • provide clearer accountability for, and stronger duties on, those responsible for the safety of high-rise buildings throughout design, construction and occupation;
  • give residents a stronger voice in the system, ensuring their concerns are never ignored and they fully understand how they can contribute to maintaining safety in their buildings;
  • strengthen enforcement and sanctions to deter non-compliance with the new regime in order to hold the right people to account; and
  • require that developers of new build homes must belong to a New Homes Ombudsman.

By Patrick Mooney, Editor