New building safety plans for Wales announced
Housing Minister Julie James has set out extensive reforms which, if approved by the Senedd, would give Wales the most comprehensive building safety regime in the UK and provide residents with a stronger voice on matters affecting their homes.
Proposals in the Building Safety White Paper cover all multi-occupied residential buildings, from a house converted into two flats, to a high-rise apartment block.
The White Paper sets out major reforms to the way we design, build, manage and live in properties so that safety is observed at all stage of a building’s lifecycle, whilst proposing clear lines of accountability for building owners and managers as well as a stronger regulatory system.
It also includes:
- Clear lines of accountability, creating dutyholders with the appropriate knowledge and expertise, who will be legally responsible for safety and reducing fire risk throughout the lifecycle of the building;
- An enhanced programme of checks during construction to support evidence of compliance;
- The creation of two risk categories, with a ‘Golden Thread’ of up to date information about design, construction and ongoing maintenance required for all buildings of 18 metres or over;
- A duty for building to contain the capacity to contain a fire where it originates for long enough to allow it to be extinguished.
- A wholly new means for identifying and reducing risks of fire in blocks of flats. This will be easier for landlords and others to understand and apply, and more effective in reducing risks to residents;
- A process for residents to raise building safety concerns;
- A single process for escalating concerns to the regulator.
The Welsh Government has already taken a number of steps to improve building safety. Last January, following a change to regulations, the use of combustible materials in cladding systems was banned in Wales. This applied to all new residential buildings (flats, student accommodation and care homes) and hospitals over 18m in height.
Julie James yesterday said:
In the wake of the tragedy at Grenfell Tower, the Welsh Government has already taken action to make buildings safer for residents.
It’s always been clear, however, that far more fundamental changes were needed to improve building safety in the round.
That’s why we are proposing improvements to every stage of the life-cycle of multi-occupied buildings, from design, through construction and into occupation, so new buildings are safe for each and every resident.
Most importantly, these proposals are designed to empower residents by giving them far more say in the matters that affect their homes and providing clear channels for them to speak up and alert those responsible when things go wrong. Those who own and manage our buildings must live up to their obligations to put things right.
These proposals, if passed into law in the next Senedd term, will create a new and much improved regime which puts the safety of residents first.
Latest News from
Further £3 million boost for everyday economy projects22/01/2021 14:05:00
Welsh Government is providing a further £3 million for projects which support, improve and deliver the everyday goods and services we all use and need.
Carers Support Fund increased by a quarter of a million pounds22/01/2021 09:05:00
A further £250k has been announced to help unpaid carers in Wales cope with the financial pressures of the coronavirus pandemic.
Changes to qualifications confirmed by Education Minister Kirsty Williams following further disruption to learning21/01/2021 14:05:00
Learners in Wales studying for Qualifications Wales approved GCSE, AS and A levels this year will receive grades determined by their school or college, based on work they have completed over their course.
Ministers seek Senedd consent for emergency bill to manage Senedd election during Covid pandemic21/01/2021 11:05:00
The Welsh Government is to seek the Senedd’s consent for an emergency bill to be introduced to ensure the next Senedd election happens safely, enabling the electorate to participate and vote during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
More than £1.7 billion reaches businesses in Wales21/01/2021 09:05:00
Businesses in Wales have received in excess of £1.7 billion from Welsh Government since the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic.
Recovery app launched in Wales to help support people with long COVID20/01/2021 14:38:00
A COVID recovery app has been launched today (20 January) as part of wider support on offer for people experiencing the longer term effects of coronavirus.
Thank you to all our wonderful volunteers in Wales – please stay safe in Alert level 420/01/2021 11:05:00
The Deputy Minister and Chief Whip, Jane Hutt, yesterday gave thanks to the brilliant, kind people from all backgrounds throughout Wales who are volunteering to help communities face lockdown together.
Commission recommendations endorsed by Welsh Government20/01/2021 09:05:00
The path to tackling congestion in south east Wales has been confirmed as Welsh Government has endorsed the recommendations of the South East Wales Transport Commission.
Update on A55 junction 19 work19/01/2021 14:05:00
Vital work to replace joints in the Glan Conwy Viaduct at junction 19 on the A55 has been rescheduled to the end of the month.