New regulator should oversee low-rise homes, say MPs

Committee supports plans for safety body but says it should apply to more homes

CIBSE March 2017 overheating

Regulatory regime must be expanded to include all buildings with vulnerable people, say MPs

Any new regulatory regime created in response to the Grenfell fire in 2017 must be expanded to include all buildings where there are vulnerable people, MPs have said.

This was a key conclusion of a report from the Housing, Communities and Local Government Committee, published last month.

The committee was responding to the government’s June 2019 proposals for the reform of the building safety regulatory system.

While the report acknowledged the government intended to bring more buildings within the scope of the proposed regulatory regime, the committee said that height should not be the sole determining factor, and that it should include all buildings with vulnerable people.

The committee also said the government was ‘absolutely right’ to prioritise measures to strengthen the voices of residents concerning building and fire safety, but voiced concerns at a perceived lack of progress in this area.

Moreover, the pace of change set by the government in reforming the sector, and progress in removing potentially dangerous cladding, was ‘far too slow’.

However, James Brokenshire, housing secretary, has said his department was working to allow the regulatory functions to exist prior to any new legislative regime being in place.

The MPs called for clarification on how the national regulator will operate at the local level. The report said: ‘It will be important to ensure that local authorities and fire and rescue authorities continue to play a central role in the new regulatory system, and their influence in local decision-making is not diminished.’

It also called on the government to ensure there was adequate funding available for public bodies taking on new responsibilities.