To Provide the Scrutiny Board with an update
on current Building Safety legislation and activities undertaken
and planned to be undertaken as a direct result of the proposals
from the Hackitt review of Building Regulations and fire
The Assistant Director (Finance and Property Services) introduced the report to the Members of the Scrutiny Board.
Members were informed that the report provided an update following the Scrutiny Board’s consideration of the Hackitt Review in 2019. The recommendations and implications arising from the Hackitt Review would continue to have a significant impact in the sector going forward. Members were further advised that the subject of the Draft Building Safety Bill was subject to a future report to Cabinet.
The Executive Director (Asset Management & Development, SCH) informed Members that the golden thread arising from the Hackitt Review related to the digital retention of data relating to building information to the required building safety standards. The initial assessment of the strategic impact of the draft bill
could be summarised under the following headings:
Members were informed that, in summary, the Draft Building Safety Bill entailed the introduction of a more regulatory regime, involving the establishment of Duty Holders (i.e. persons that will have accountability and statutory responsibilities for managing risks across design, construction and occupation of buildings); definition for high rise buildings and the introduction of ‘gateway points’ (I.e. stop/go decision points, which will provide rigorous inspection of regulatory requirements to help ensure building safety risks are considered during planning, design and construction phases).
Members were advised that the Bill established the Health and Safety Executive as the Building Safety Regulator and is held responsible for implementing the new arrangements for higher-risk buildings. The Bill also amends the Building Act 1984 to require the regulator to establish and maintain registers of building control approvers and building inspectors.
The Executive Director (Asset Management & Development, SCH) drew Members attention to the detail around the arrangements for establishing a Building Safety Board to oversee all aspects of building safety and oversight arrangements for SCH, the Council and West Midlands Fire Service.
Following receipt of the presentations, Members submitted a number of related questions to the report, which in summary included the following matters:
With regard to the financial implications arising, Councillor Groom questioned whether the Council’s Capital programme of £23.451M for the Housing Revenue Account for 2020/21 was to be taken from the Council’s Revenue budget directly or from other funding streams. Board Members were advised that the Council was reviewing a variety of funding sources, some of which was earmarked for development/acquisitions. Funding for the retro-fitting of sprinkler systems was to be taken from Reserves.
Councillor Qais referenced the Bill’s detail for statutory responsibilities and questioned how the private landlord sector would be supported to ensure compliance. Members were advised that the Council and SCH would offer support, guidance and sign-posting for the private landlord sector regarding the new legislation and its implementation.
Councillor Parker noted that as well as the Building Safety Bill, the Fire Safety Bill was also going through the legislative process, which would address the overall building safety requirements for high-rise properties.
The Executive Director (Asset Management & Development, SCH) advised the Board that newsletters had been prepared by SCH for tenants explaining how the Fire Safety Bill linked to the Building Safety Bill.
Councillor Wild queried whether the ‘appointed nominated individual’ would be an SCH tenant and was advised that the individual could be an appointee of a corporate entity, such as SCH or the Council.
Having considered the report, the Resources and Delivering Value Scrutiny Board:
(i) To note the implications arising from the Draft Building Safety Bill with no further implications arising to be drawn to the attention of the Cabinet;
(ii) To note the financial implications involved and costs arising from the related legislation arising from the Hackitt Review;
(iii) To note and acknowledge the Fire Safety Bill and the significance of its future role in supporting the management of the housing stock;
(iv) To receive an informal briefing via e-mail from SCH addressing the Fire Safety Bill; and,
(v) To receive a further ‘Implications Arising from the Hackitt Review’ Update Report as part of the Scrutiny Board’s Work Programme for the 2021/22 municipal year.