One thing you need to do... Register for The Construction Playbook webinar
The Construction Leadership Council (CLC) is running a series of free webinars on the Government’s recently published Construction Playbook. The Playbook outlines new rules on how the public sector must procure future construction projects, with the objective of improving efficiency and sustainability through new approaches and relationships.
The next webinar, taking place on Monday 27 September, 13:00-14:30 will be looking at payment and pricing.
· Rob Driscoll, Director of Legal & Buisness, Electrical Contractors Association
· Dr David Hancock, Construction Director, Infrastructure and Projects Authority
· Mark Mitchell, Operations Finance Director, Osborne
> To register for the event, please email [email protected]
1. Second Reading of the Building Safety Bill in Commons
We are aware that many of our readers also subscribe to our Building Safety Bill newsletter which will become more frequent with the Bill officially starting its passage in Parliament. However, for those of you not registered and would like to learn more about the progress on the Bill, you can register here.
Rather than repeat what featured in our most recent update, we have provided a summary of the main points covered during the Second Reading, on 21 July and the announcement of further opportunities to engage.
The second reading of the Bill was the first opportunity for MPs to debate the main principles of the Bill. The Shadow Housing Secretary, Lucy Powell MP (Lab) said that Labour supported the majority of the contents of the Bill but added it could go further on strengthening regulation on high-rise buildings. She furthered, stating the Bill abandoned leaseholders who are already trapped in the building safety crisis.
On the building safety regulator, she said it would be the building control body for taller buildings, but not for those under 18 metres, even where other risks could remain. On recouping costs from developers, she said that the polluter must pay principle should apply to the building safety scandal. She said that fundamentally, the Bill betrayed leaseholders who were still facing life-changing costs for problems that they did not create and were trapped.
Members from all sides of the House provided their perspectives on the Bill, with many highlighting significant concerns about historical fire safety defects placing financial and emotional stress on innocent leaseholders. Members also raised concerns that height of a building is not the only thing that makes it risky and these must be considered by the new Building Safety Regulator.
Other issues raised by members of the House also considered the types of materials being used in high risk buildings, how the use of sprinklers could facilitate protection of properties and how the Bill can also address some of the cultural and payment issues in the sector.
The Bill will now move to Committee Stage, which is the first opportunity to take evidence from experts and interest groups from outside Parliament.
Have your say on the Building Safety Bill
The first sitting of the Public Bill Committee is expected to be on Thursday 9 September 2021. Written evidence can now be sent to the Public Bill Committee and The Committee is scheduled to report by Tuesday 26 October. However, please note that when the Committee concludes its consideration of the Bill it is no longer able to receive written evidence and it may conclude earlier than the expected deadline of 17:00 on Tuesday 26 October.
Formal responses to the Committee can be sent to [email protected]. CIOB will also be responding to the Committee and we would welcome any responses or additional thoughts to be sent to the policy team on [email protected].
> You can sign up for our Building Safety updates here
> Further information about responding to the Building Safety Bill can be found here
2. Permitted Development Rights (PDR) – CIOB Coverage
CIOB has regularly commented on the Government’s move towards commissioning housing through permitted development rights (PDRs) without sufficient safeguards in place.
Since pushing this position, we have welcomed the Government’s announcement that all office-to residential conversions build under PDR will now have to meet minimum space standards. We also understand the stated motivation behind PDRs and agree that we do need to have flexibility in buildings, rejuvenate town centres, and deliver more housing in the right locations. The problem is with the final product the PDR regime has been empirically proven to produce in terms of quality: housing that is consistently below the level of residential buildings that come through the planning system.
On 1 August 2021 we featured in several news outlets, notably the BBC and the Guardian on a story alongside Zurich UK, warning planning reforms risks creating more poor quality homes vulnerable to overheating in the summer.
We continue to push for further improvements to PDR and urge the Government to develop the Planning Bill in alignment with the Building Safety Bill to ensure safety and quality is paramount for users.
> Check out our response to the HCLG Select Committee’s Inquiry into PDR here
3. Global – Policy & Public Affairs in Kong
Our new Policy & Public Affairs Manager for Hong Kong has provided a short update from her first month at CIOB.
Later this year (and in 2022), we will see elections of members of the Hong Kong Legislative Council and the Chief Executive of Hong Kong. We are now in the process of building a network of stakeholders to promote the construction management professional and the key role it has to the economy. Since joining, we have mapped out our stakeholders in the region and engaged with Government officials, public bodies, professional associations, and educational establishments to explore opportunities for collaboration.
Our key areas of focus for HK include developing policies relating to quality management, smart and sustainable building, BIM and MIC, which are commanding a great deal of interests locally. Looking ahead, we will also focus on policies of the Greater Bay Area development to capitalise the enormous opportunities for our profession.
4. Building Regulations Advisory Committee (BRAC) publishes its Golden Thread Report
On Wednesday 21 July, the Building Regulations Advisory Committee (BRAC) released a report on the Golden Thread which will form part of the secondary legislation for the Building Safety Act.
Dame Judith Hackitt’s report, Building a safer future, recommended the introduction of a ‘golden thread’ to support dutyholders in designing, constructing and managing their buildings as holistic systems, taking into account building safety at all stages in the lifecycle. The Government has since committed to implementing Dame Judith’s recommendations on the golden thread.
The report sets out the golden thread definition and principles which will inform ongoing work in developing secondary legislation and guidance in addition to how industry can support the Government in delivering safer buildings in the UK. The report also includes how the industry can adopt the golden thread and what steps can be taken to change the culture within construction.
The BRAC working group makes clear that to implement the golden thread and bring about a change in culture, industry must be engaged with at the right stages. The working group is currently undertaking industry engagement through speaking at webinars and online events, as well as writing articles aimed for the industry with clear information about the policy, what the golden thread entails and insights into the changes in practice that it will require.
> To read the BRAC golden thread report click here
5. Office for National Statistics publishes latest figures on Construction Output
Earlier in July, the Office for National Statistics (ONS), released its latest construction output figures covering the month of May 2021.
ONS figures showed construction output fell by 0.8 per cent in May due to a decline in new work (0.4 per cent) and repair and maintenance (1.5 per cent). Anecdotal evidence received from the ONS survey suggests adverse weather conditions were a contributing factor to the fall with it being the fourth wettest May on record since 1862.
Between March and May, both new work in private housing and infrastructure have been thriving the most with a strong pipeline of orders pre-pandemic and larger sites allowing more workers on-site while adhering to social distancing rules.
CIOB anticipates productivity will increase now that social distancing rules have been scrapped and more people can return to work. However, it will take a few months to see its full impact on the industry as demand for materials and products continues to outstrip global supply.
> CIOB issued a full response to the data, which you can find here
Coming up in August
The Building Bulletin 100: fire safety design for school’s consultation closes on 17 August 2021. CIOB will be responding to the consultation in alignment with other fire safety and professional bodies.
UK Parliamentary activity is on hold due to recess until 6 September 2021. However, we will be using this time to prepare for the party conferences taking place in September and October 2021.
If you made it this far... Building Safety Levy Consultation
The Housing, Communities and Local Government Secretary, Robert Jenrick MP announced that the Government are introducing a levy on developers who seek regulatory permission to build certain high-rise residential buildings, also known as “Gateway 2”.
The Government are consulting to seek views on the design of the levy, and evidence of possible impacts on housing supply and regeneration, and the housebuilding industry. We welcome views and evidence from all interested stakeholders.
The powers to create and set the terms of the levy are set out in the Building Safety Bill, which was introduced to Parliament on 5 July 2021.
Subject to the passage of the Bill through Parliament, this levy will apply to developments in England seeking building control approval from the Building Safety Regulator to start construction of certain buildings: the “Gateway 2” stage of the new building safety regime.
The levy will sit alongside a new tax on developers in the residential property market, which is set to raise at least £2 billion over a decade towards the costs of making buildings safer. A separate consultation on the tax is due to close on 22 July 2021.
The Building Safety Levy consultation seeks views on the potential design of the levy, and evidence of possible impacts on housing supply and regeneration, and the housebuilding industry.
A link to the consultation can be accessed here and the consultation closes at 11:45pm on Friday 15 October 2021. Once again, you are welcome to send views to the policy team at [email protected].
> The consultation on the Building Safety Levy can be accessed here
Thank you for reading this month’s update from the CIOB policy team. We will be back in your inbox next month with more information about what the team is up to, what is going on in Parliament and built environment news to look out for.
All the best,
The CIOB policy team
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