“As another year draws to a close it is a good time to take stock and look what has been achieved over the last year, as well as looking forward to some of the challenges and opportunities which lie ahead.
Back in February my contribution to this newsletter focussed on the appointment of Peter Baker as the Chief Inspector of Buildings. It has been a pleasure to work with Peter and his growing team over the last year and to share speaking platforms at so many events. The message is getting through and change is happening.
I’d also like to pay tribute to Amanda Long and her team for the excellent progress that has been made on both the ‘Building a Safer Future’ charter and the Code for Construction Product Information – and – a big “well done!” to all of those organisations who have stepped up to commit to the charter and the code.
Sadly, many residents of high-rise buildings, especially leaseholders, have faced continued uncertainty and stress about both the safety of their buildings and the cost of remediation work throughout the year. Many were heartened to hear Secretary of State Michael Gove give evidence to the Select Committee in November where he made clear his views on leaseholders not being liable for costs of building defects caused by others. So we are all more hopeful of good news on this front as we move into 2022.
What we can be confident about in the year ahead is that the Building Safety Bill will continue its passage into legislation, and we are already seeing the first impacts of things like the first planning gateway and the guidance on preparing a safety case for a high-rise building. These are first steps but they are very important in maintaining momentum and in making clear to stakeholders what is coming and what will be required of them.
I know that for many it feels that it is taking a very long time to implement the recommendations of my review – I share that view in lots of ways! But what I am sure of is that we are moving closer and faster towards the day when we will make a major change to our regulatory system for buildings that will give people confidence their homes are fit for purpose and safe to live in. This must be a lasting change and a fitting legacy to those who lost their lives and their loved ones at Grenfell in 2017.”