MP for Basingstoke Maria Miller spoke in the second reading of the Building Safety Bill on Wednesday. The Building Safety Bill seeks to give residents power to hold developers to account and seek compensation for substandard work. The Bill will also make it easier for homeowners to seek compensation for poor building construction, and will also create a new Building Safety Regulator to ensure the highest safety standards are met for high-rise buildings from design to occupation.
The Bill also creates a new homes ombudsman, which was called for in 2016 by the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Excellence in the Built Environment, in a report that Maria co-chaired after constituents told her of their problems with build quality.
Maria Miller said,
“I welcome the Bill, which requires a fundamental overhaul of our building industry’s attitude towards the quality of new homes. For too long, the biggest five builders have squeezed out smaller local home builders, whose reputation for quality is central to their business. The Bill makes build quality central to everyone’s business. First and foremost, however, we need to speak up for those who have been impacted by the building industry’s current fire safety regulatory failure. Those directly affected by the tragedy at Grenfell are always in our minds, but so are the people who own homes in high-rise flats. They continue to shoulder the worry resulting from construction work that has failed fire safety tests.”
“The Government have acted rapidly, and by putting in place a £5 billion fund to cover remedial works, the Government are clear that they do not want the costs to fall on the shoulders of leaseholders. Building operators have also been able to get in-principle agreements for significant fire safety remedial works, but the worry for residents remains because some building owners might be cautious about starting remedial works without clear sight of what happens if additional problems are discovered. It’s important that the Government give additional assurances so freeholders aren’t able to passing on the cost of remedial works to leaseholders.”
The Building Safety Bill also includes in it provisions from Maria’s 2018 Private Members’ Bill (Fire Safety Information Bill), which required residents of high-rise buildings to be provided with far more fire safety information.
Maria also raised concerns from Basingstoke constituents at debate, including about the complexity of building ownership structures, and the need for personal evacuation plan evaluations that work disabled and vulnerable people in the event of a fire.
To watch Maria’s full contribution, click here: https://parliamentlive.tv/event/index/9a26f78c-9111-4757-8db8-29c04e4e8586?in=18:02:32&out=18:05:40