Building Safety Bill, English High Rise Materials, Tower Cladding Tests, Housing Estate ACM Panels News

Building Safety Bill UK

1 March 2022

CIAT raises serious concerns and responds to the Lords’ Committee Stages as the Building Safety Bill moves through Parliament

Building Safety Bill – UK Construction Materials

CIAT supports the premise of taking appropriate action against those who have deliberately and knowingly specified, provided, or fitted substandard materials. However, the proposal to extend liability periods is unrealistic, unworkable, and unachievable and has the danger of potentially persecuting innocent parties without the means to defend themselves or without any realistic positive outcome for the owner/occupant.

Canary Wharf buildings, Isle of Dogs, east London:
Building Safety Bill: UK Tower Cladding

Imposing a retroactive period of 30 years is a reactive addition to the Building Safety Bill and is not the solution. There may not be insurance in place, the documents may no longer exist, as the insurance and limitations periods under which these practices were operating had expired and also due to the more stringent GDPR rules, the claim would go against the contracts and certification processes as issued at the time and could be challenged through the courts, even if the practices still existed or the personnel were the same. If the claim was pursued, the practices or individuals may have no alternative but to declare themselves bankrupt which provides no resolution for any party.

Grenfell Tower building, west London:
Grenfell Tower London cladding exposed - UK Tower Cladding Tests

The narrative from Government is implying that it is aiming these measures at large manufacturers, contractors, and developers, without taking cognisance that it will in reality affect those sole practitioners and micro-SMEs (up to 10 employees) which are the majority of practices in the professional services sector. In addition to this issue, many of those firms will no longer be operating. As such, CIAT would urge the Government to continue with its original commitment to fund the remedial works as promised and aim any sanctions or pursue recovery at the right parties. Any proposed actions should be proportionate, fair and realistic.

Chalcots Estate tower, Camden, North London:
Chalcots Estate tower Camden North London - UK tower cladding tests

CIAT is becoming increasingly concerned by the plethora of suggested amendments to the Bill. These are changing on a daily basis, and it is hoped that common sense will prevail. In addition to the matter of extending liability periods retrospectively, it is important that those writing this legislation understand that professional service providers do not operate multi-million-pound companies and are mainly micro SMEs (up to ten) or sole practitioners. They will simply not have the capital to fund uninsured losses for remedial work that they had no influence or control over.

CIAT would also suggest that the Government opens dialogue with the sector and experts who could contribute to a constructive way forward to enshrine legislation which is proportionate, fair and achievable.

A view of part of the Burnham residential tower on the Chalcots Estate:
Chalcots Estate cladding ACM panel removed for testing

CIAT will be assessing the results of the debate at Report Stage when the revised Bill is published. This is expected at some point after 2 March 2022.

The Chartered Institute of Architectural Technologists (CIAT) is a dynamic, forward-thinking, and inclusive global membership qualifying body for Architectural Technology. It represents those practising and studying within the discipline and profession. CIAT qualifies Chartered Architectural Technologists (someone who holds the designation MCIAT or FCIAT).

Chartered Institute of Architectural Technologists (CIAT), 397 City Road, London, EC1V 1NH, United Kingdom

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Chalcots Estate Building Cladding

Chalcots Estate towers Camden North London

Chalcots Estate Tower Cladding

Grenfell Tower Cladding Exposed

Grenfell Tower Cladding

Grenfell Tower Fire

Grenfell Tower fire, 4:43 a.m. on 14 June 2017:
Grenfell Tower fire in West London building
photograph by Natalie Oxford, courtesy of wikimedia commons

Grenfell Tower

Grenfell Tower cladding exposed:
Grenfell Tower cladding exposed

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