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ASSA ABLOY Opening Solutions UK & Ireland has welcomed the new Building Safety Bill, which will drastically overhaul building regulations in England and Wales.

Introduced in the House of Commons on 5 July, the bill is the next step in ground-breaking reforms that will create lasting generational change and set out a clear pathway for how high-rise residential buildings should be constructed, maintained and made safe.

Considerations such as inclusive design and fire door safety maintenance will come to the fore as part of the new bill, which are issues that ASSA ABLOY Opening Solutions UK & Ireland has always passionately advocated for.

Managing safety risks                    

The safety measures outlined in the new bill address the concerns raised in the Hackitt Report, in response to the Grenfell Tower tragedy. 

Building owners will be required to manage safety risks, with clear lines of responsibility for safety during design, construction, completion, and occupation of high-rise buildings. They will also need to demonstrate that they have effective, proportionate measures in place to manage safety risks. Those who do not meet these obligations may face criminal charges.

Building safety Regulator 

A new Building Safety Regulator will oversee a new, stricter safety regime for high-rise residential homes

Under the bill, a new Building Safety Regulator will oversee a new, stricter safety regime for high-rise residential homes. These developments will require Principal Designers and Principal Contractors responsible for safety, as well as ‘gateway points’ when risks to health and safety will be considered.

The bill will now have to pass through the House of Commons and House of Lords to pass into law.

Safety standards 

Eryl Jones, Managing Director of the ASSA ABLOY Door Hardware Group, said, “This bill marks an important step in ensuring building regulations are right for the future while establishing new safety standards for the built environment.”

“ The correct specification of door hardware, which meets essential health and safety demands, should be a non-negotiable. We are pleased that the new bill will help shine a light on some of these key issues.”

Fire safety measures 

First of all, while fire safety has always been critical, incidents such as the Grenfell tragedy have highlighted how this issue can no longer afford to be an afterthought. Fire doors are one of the most important safety features in a building, and regular inspections and maintenance regimes are critical.”

Secondly, inclusive design and accessibility is an issue that we feel incredibly passionate about. Building owners and developers should be demanding solutions, including door opening products, that meet these needs every single time.”

People must be able to access, use, and exit buildings easily and independently, and those designing, constructing, specifying products for, and maintaining these buildings have a duty of care to make sure this is the case.”

Educating the stakeholders 

One measure we have taken to help educate key stakeholders in the supply chain is a comprehensive white paper

One measure we have taken to help educate key stakeholders in the supply chain is a comprehensive white paper, demystifying what the guidelines governing inclusive design state while making clear why this is an issue that building owners and developers should care about.”

It also covers how decision-makers can ensure products that meet the necessary fire safety standards are specified too.”

We believe the Building Safety Bill will play a landmark role in changing building regulations for high-rise structures for the better, placing health and safety at the heart of these environments. Furthermore, we’d hope that these changes and focus filters throughout the construction industry as a whole, making all buildings safer.”

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