12 Jan 2021

Welsh Government seek to introduce radical building safety reforms

Reflecting a radical shift in practice in building safety in Wales the Welsh Government has outlined its proposals to ensure the safety of tenants remains at the forefront of building and managing homes in the Building Safety White Paper.

The proposed building safety regime outlined in the White Paper is intended to cover any property containing two or more dwellings. Different elements of the regime will apply to different building types depending on if they fall under the scope of Category 1 or Category 2 buildings. Provisions are also included to create:

  • Clear lines of accountability, creating dutyholders with the appropriate knowledge and expertise, who will be legally responsible for safety and reducing fire risk throughout the lifecycle of the building;
  • An enhanced programme of checks during construction to support evidence of compliance;
  • The creation of two risk categories, with a ‘Golden Thread’ of up to date information about design, construction and ongoing maintenance required for all buildings of 18 metres or over;
  • A duty for building to contain the capacity to contain a fire where it originates for long enough to allow it to be extinguished.
  • A wholly new means for identifying and reducing risks of fire in blocks of flats. This will be easier for landlords and others to understand and apply, and more effective in reducing risks to residents;
  • A process for residents to raise building safety concerns;
  • A single process for escalating concerns to the regulator.

Matt Dicks  |  national director, CIH Cymru

The image of Grenfell Tower ablaze is one that will never leave any of us – a tragedy that has become a call to action for us all, as housing professionals, to do everything we can to ensure that everyone has a safe and secure place to call home. The proposals in the Welsh Government’s Building Safety White Paper are the result of intensive scrutiny of building safety in Wales in the wake of that tragedy and subsequent Hackitt review and the views of its own Building Safety Expert Group. CIH Cymru welcomes the paper’s focuses on changes that cut-across the lifecycle of buildings and set-out the desired approach around culture, design and construction. And we welcome the opportunity to feed in the views and thoughts of our members, frontline housing professionals, into the further development of building safety in Wales.