MHCLG building safety announcement - LABC responds

21.01.2020
Press Release
High rise buildings - improvements in building standards

On Monday 20 January, the Secretary of State for Housing Communities and Local Government, the Rt Hon. Robert Jenrick MP, made a statement to Parliament on the Government's measures to improve building standards. Today, LABC’s Chief Executive, Lorna Stimpson, responded.

"LABC welcomes the quick implementation of key aspects of these measures to improve building safety standards.

"It is vital there is strong and independent regulation and robust enforcement through removing choice of regulator. LABC is committed to fully supporting the Building Safety Regulator, Dame Judith Hackitt, in her role overseeing the transition and the new Chief Inspector of Buildings when in place.

"It is also good news that a more dynamic view is being taken of building risk with buildings above 11 metres now being considered.

"These are technically very complex regulatory changes and LABC is reassured they are being urgently addressed with an imminent Fire Safety Bill and that the Secretary of State will publish the Building Safety Bill before the summer recess."

Pace of change appreciated

"While we understand the complexities, we are relieved the pace of change and decision-making has changed for the better.

"Our sympathies are with all the people connected with the Grenfell tragedy and with those leaseholders whose homes are blighted by the discovery of aluminium composite material on their properties. So we welcome all additional powers to speed remediation.

"There is so much more to do to change culture, improve practice and drive up the competencies of the many people involved in designing, building and regulating construction.

"It is clear all politicians and professionals must support - as a public service duty - reversing the downward spiral identified by Dame Judith Hackitt. It requires a huge effort for one of the country’s largest industries to undertake this change in a such a short time and we must do it without being delayed by those who seek to pass the buck or crudely defend commercial interests. Change has to be radical and fast."

Change has to be radical and fast.
Lorna Stimpson, Chief Executive of LABC

A vital link

Lorna Stimpson also considered some of the wider implications of the Secretary of State’s announcement. "There are policy issues that still need clarification. The construction industry is large, entrepreneurial and fast-moving. There will have to be clear lines between the new regulator, local government and the communities they serve.

"LABC’s public service building control network has been preparing itself for new and more disciplined ways of working. So we have invested a huge amount in reviewing our standards, competencies, qualifications and practices.

"We see our network as the vital link between the central regulator and the construction industry – who need clarity, independence, impartiality and timely intervention from local regulators. Additional powers and sanctions will help; so too will improved knowledge, shared professionalism and unambiguous regulations.

"LABC is putting all of its resources into these changes."

For media enquiries or to arrange an interview with LABC, contact media.enquiries@labc.co.uk

Further information

Hansard report of what was said in the Building Safety debate on 20 January 2020

Government press release on New measures to improve building standards

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