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SEC calls on Government to enhance powers for new building safety regulator

As the board charged with implementing the new Building Safety Regulator meets this week and Government begins to frame its legislation, a leading UK construction body has called for enhanced powers for the Regulator.

The Specialist Engineering Contractors’ (SEC) Group is urging the Government to ensure that the Regulator, which is being set up within the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), has wide enough powers to deal with all matters affecting building safety.

In her report, Building a Safer Future (published May 2018), Dame Judith Hackitt stated that building safety was being compromised by poor procurement processes (seeking lowest price outcomes) and adversarial contractual/payment practices that require small firms at the end of construction supply chains to pick up all project-related risks.

Dame Judith called for a collaborative partnership between building clients and their delivery teams as well as fair treatment for all suppliers.

SEC Group is calling on the Government to give specific powers to the Regulator:

  • to draw up a code of ethical commercial behaviours and impose sanctions where the code is breached, and
  • to promote procurement decisions based upon teamworking (including all key suppliers) from the outset of project design and planning processes.

SEC Group’s CEO Professor Rudi Klein commented: “Effective measures to address building safety demand a fundamental change in construction procurement processes and commercial behaviours. This has been said and repeated over many years but unless the promised legislation provides the Regulator with the necessary powers and the resources to do the job properly, (Housing Secretary) Mr Jenrick’s expectation of transformational change is likely to be illusory.”

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