Policy update from CE National – September 15th 2023
COLLABORATIVE PROCUREMENT WILL BE AN ENFORCEABLE BENCHMARK FOR COMPLIANCE WITH BUILDING SAFETY LAW.
We were pleased along with members to support the Procurement Advisory Group for the Building Safety Programme in the development of the Guidance on Collaborative Procurement for Design and Construction to Support Building Safety (publishing.service.gov.uk). The Health and Safety Executive Building Safety Regulator (‘BSR’) will implement the DLUHC ‘Guidance on Collaborative Procurement for Design and Construction to Support Building Safety’ as endorsed by Dame Judith Hackitt and announced by the Rt. Hon. Michael Gove MP in the House of Commons in January 2022. The Guidance includes 13 crucial questions (A-M) to be raised by the BSR at the ‘Gateways’ preceding planning consent, commencement of construction and occupation, which are designed to ensure that the client, designer, contractor and other dutyholders adopt: – ‘Selection by value that avoids a race to the bottom’ – ‘Early supply chain involvement that improves safety and reduces risks’ – ‘Collaborative relationships that improve commitments and involve residents’ – ‘A golden thread of information that integrates design, construction and operation.’ The Health and Safety Executive has stated that: – ‘The Guidance is a very important document for clients to enable them to understand the new legislative requirements and importantly how to operationalise these.’ – ‘From a regulatory point of view the BSR will consider the guidance as an “establish standard” on the basis it was created by an expert panel including the Procurement Advisory Group and endorsed by Government through DLUHC’. – ‘BSR will view the guidance (most notably questions A -M) as one benchmark for compliance with the law, particularly in relation to clients’ duties regarding: (a) the strategies, policies and procedures the client has adopted for planning, managing and monitoring the HRB (high-rise building) work (b) the strategies, policies and procedures the client has adopted to identify, assess and keep under review the competence of the persons (including PD and PC) carrying out the HRB work (c) the strategies, policies and procedures the client has adopted to support co-operation between designers, contractors and any other persons involved in the HRB work.’
THE WEEK IN POLICY
Government launches Great British Insulation Scheme
On Thursday (14 September), the Department for Energy Security and Net Zero announced a new £1bn scheme to help families in lower council tax bands with energy efficiency upgrades such as roof, loft and cavity wall insulation. Those eligible for support under the Great British Insulation Scheme include families in council tax bands A-D in England, A-E in Scotland and Wales, with an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) rating of D or below. The Department estimates that more than 300,000 families will benefit from the scheme, which will run alongside the Energy Company Obligation Scheme.
Angela Rayner MP gives speech to TUC Congress
On Wednesday (13 September), the Deputy Leader of the Labour Party and Shadow Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, Angela Rayner MP, delivered a speech to the TUC Congress in which she branded the Conservative’s Levelling Up policy a “sham and a scam”. During the speech, Rayner detailed Labour’s plans to pass a law to improve workers’ rights within the first 100 days of entering office. This includes plans to update union laws, outlaw blacklisting, ban zero-hour contracts, and repeal legislation that enforces “minimum service levels” in some sectors during strikes.
Letter from Secretary of State for DLUHC to announce the publishing of guidance to providers of residential accommodation in addressing the health risks of damp and mould
On Monday (11 September) the Secretary of State for Levelling Up Michael Gove MP sent a letter to social housing providers, highlighting guidance published on 7 September on the health impacts of damp and mould in the home. This was part of the Government’s response to the Coroner’s report into the death of Awaab Ishak. Gove states that the Government is clear damp and mould “should not be dismissed as a ‘lifestyle choice’ and that action to remove pervasive damp and mould must be taken by landlords”. Alongside an overview of the new guidance, Gove concludes “it is all our responsibilities to work together to improve standards in the rented sector”.
Levelling Up Committee Chair writes to the Government on RAAC housing risks
Clive Betts MP, Chair of the Levelling Up, Housing and Communities Committee, has written to Lee Rowley MP, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Local Government and Building Safety, to request an update on the risk of RAAC in social and private housing. Betts notes: “There are well-publicised concerns about the use of RAAC in public buildings such as schools and hospitals but there is also concern about the use of RAAC in housing. It’s important the Government spells out its assessment of the risk in residential buildings, in social housing and local authorities’ estates and what guidance it is giving to residents and landlords on the risk of RAAC.”
IN THE NEWS
The day Essex schools warned of cracked concrete ceilings – 30 years ago – The Sunday Times
The Sunday Times reports on the investigations undertaken by BRE into RAAC since 1994. It states ‘almost three decades later, the significance of those early tests is at last apparent’. The article also provides a timeline on the usage of RAAC, from its invention in 1923, to its post-war use and historical panics about cracks in the material. Commentary is included from Professor Chris Gorse, who claims: “RAAC is not an inherently poor material. In the right conditions, it can work after 40, 50 years. We’ve got to be careful not to overreact and demolish or retrofit all RAAC buildings. What we have got to do is inspect, monitor and survey the buildings to make sure that they are safe.”
Heating on prescription scheme suggests fewer NHS visits – BBC News
BBC News reports that a scheme that paid the heating bills of some NHS patients last winter has indicated that those taking part visited their GP less often. Included is the example of James Smith, a sufferer of a lung disease who was given ‘massive relief’ from being able to keep warm. The BP funded Warm Home Prescription study started as a small trial of 28 people between December 2021 and March 2022, before expanding to 486 households in Aberdeen, 292 in Middlesborough, 23 in Gloucestershire and 22 in London.
COMING UP NEXT WEEK
Monday 18th September: The Levelling Up, Housing and Communities Committee will have its eighth day of Report Stage debate. The Environmental Audit Committee will hear oral evidence on heat resilience and sustainable cooling.
Tuesday 19th September: The Department for Energy Security and Net Zero will face oral questions in the House of Commons. The Education Committee will hear oral evidence on unsafe concrete in education settings.
Wednesday 20th September: The House of Commons enters recess and will next sit on 16 October. The Levelling Up and Regeneration Bill will have its Third Reading.