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High RiseThe Local Government Association (LGA) is backing an amendment presented by St Albans MP Daisy Cooper, protecting residents of new buildings less than 18 metres. Local authorities feel that should the draft legislation not be amended to cover this, there is a risk of a two tier building safety regime. Additional protection would not be available to those residents in buildings of less than 18 metres.

The Building Safety Bill will see a Building Safety Regulator (BSR) as an office within the Health & Safety Executive (HSE), implementing a more stringent regime for higher-risk buildings. These include residential buildings, hospitals and care homes over 18 metres high. The Building Safety Bill as it stands, would not, for instance, have covered the Cube student residence in Bolton. In December 2019 during a blaze, the flammable cladding on the Cube rendered the only staircase unusable within half an hour. One resident only just made it, being rescued from the top floor of the building just before her flat was destroyed by fire. If the fire had happened at night as people slept, there are likely to have been fatalities.

Housing spokesperson at the Local Government Association, Cllr David Renard said: “The Building Safety Bill, along with the Fire Safety Act, are important pieces of legislation that 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 which leaves buildings under 18 metres vulnerable and unprotected. 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 18 metres that require it on the basis of risk is hardwired into the legislation.”



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