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Freelance journalist

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Ron Alalouff is a journalist specialising in the fire and security markets, and a former editor of websites and magazines in the same fields.
March 25, 2022

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The Video Surveillance Report 2022

Building Safety

Government scraps Building Safety Manager role by amending Building Safety Bill

After the government’s recent announcement that the role of Building Safety Manager – a key part of the Building Safety Bill – will be scrapped in response to complaints from leaseholder groups about the potential costs of such a measure, IFSEC Global investigates what this means for tenants and building owners.  

The government says the change will provide a more proportionate and flexible approach that will enable Accountable Persons (usually the building owner) to meet their obligations in a way that is most effective for their buildings and residents. It will be the responsibility of Accountable Persons to ensure they have the necessary arrangements in place to manage and maintain building safety risks in their buildings.

The Building Safety Regulator will publish guidance to help Accountable Persons understand and meet their obligations as set out in the bill.

The Building Safety Bill – which is at an advanced stage in the parliamentary process – is the key piece of legislation aimed at implementing the recommendations of Dame Judith Hackitt in the wake of the Grenfell Tower fire. The bill originally included the provision that landlords managing high rise residential blocks must recruit a Building Safety Manager to oversee fire and structural safety.

The amendments remove the requirement to appoint a Building Safety Manager, and put a dent in the government’s aim to ensure there are clearly identified people responsible for safety of high-rise residential buildings.

The Building Safety Manager would have been the person appointed by the Accountable Person to plan, manage and monitor fire and structural safety duties. Additionally, individuals could only be appointed Building Safety Managers if they had the “skills, knowledge, experience and behaviours” to carry out such duties.

Announcing the changes, Levelling Up Secretary, Michael Gove, said: “No leaseholder should pay the price for shoddy development and we have listened to their concerns, removing the requirement for a separate building safety charge and scrapping compulsory building safety managers, to help avoid unnecessary costs.”

Other amendments include extending protections to leaseholders who own up to three properties, scrapping the standalone Building Safety Charge, and expanding leaseholder protections so that those in lower value properties pay nothing for non-cladding remediation works.

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Simon Ince
Simon Ince
March 28, 2022 9:56 am

The call for the industry ‘not to wait for regulations but get on with it now’, was acted upon. Sadly for all those who have put hours, days, months, and years into the development of the BSM role, their time has been wasted. What’s key fire safety element is going to be next to fall out of the regulation?

Daljit Sharma
Daljit Sharma
March 31, 2022 11:49 am
Reply to  Simon Ince

Effective building safety of high rise buildings depend on the political wind, the politicians change their minds faster and more than the wind direction arrows on a church spire.

Anthony Redgrift
Anthony Redgrift
March 31, 2022 12:24 pm

All Michael Grove has done is force the building owners to conduct this role themselves or to employ a building manager but hide the cost increase elsewhere such as rent increases. Absolute madness.

Alastair Brockett
Alastair Brockett
April 1, 2022 7:57 am

UK Fire History is a litany of knee jerk reaction in response to an indignant society who demand that something be done. As a consequence we had a list of Acts and regulations that pertained to a particular type of disaster, and then once that confusion was eventually dealt with bt a ‘streamlining’ of legislation, we repeat history only to reflect and see that perhaps the measures come from desperate response to society anger. ‘Act in haste, repent at leisure’. No one denies something needed to be done, but perhaps a more level headed informed approach would have been better.

Neill Files
Neill Files
April 9, 2022 10:32 am

Couldn’t agree more, however this is the chaotic management system the government (of all colours) enact when they are in power – we all know that the role of the BSM will be absorbed and lost, until another tragedy occurs (which very sadly it will!). For all of us in Fire Safety, we just need to be diligent, true to our own conscious, and ensure we continue to highlight actions that are required to be carried out (sadly some won’t as it is not a level playing field out there).