LGA urges MPs to prevent Building Safety Bill creating a ‘two-tier’ system

The Local Government Association (LGA) is urging MPs to back its vice president Daisy Cooper MP’s amendments to the Building Safety Bill, which will protect the future residents of new buildings under 18m not covered by the scope of the document.

While the bill implements a more stringent regulatory regime for higher risk buildings – defined as residential buildings, care homes and hospitals over 18m – it leaves those under 18m out of scope, meaning they face less rigorous safety regulations and creates a ‘two-tier’ system.

The Bolton Cube residence incident

To examine how devastating the impacting of ignoring such smaller structures’ safety, the current scope of Building Safety Bill would not have covered the Cube student residence in Bolton.

In December 2019, the flammable cladding at the Cube rendered the only staircase untenable within half an hour and a resident had to be rescued from the top floor of the building moments before the flat from which she was rescued was destroyed by fire.

Councillor David Renard, housing spokesperson at the LGA, said: “The Building Safety Bill, along with the Fire Safety Act, are important pieces of legislation which will strengthen the building safety system in the UK.

“The LGA has long-warned about the need for building safety reforms to avoid creating a two-tier building safety system. The height of a building does not define the risk to its safety, as has been proven by a number of dangerous and potentially fatal fires in buildings below 18 metres.

“We urge MPs to back these amendments to ensure the extension of the Bill’s protection to those buildings under 18m that require it on the basis of risk is hardwired into the legislation.”

>>Read more about the Building Safety Bill here.