5 weeks for developers to sign new Health and Safety contract

The Government has brought forward the new Health and Safety legislation to this spring, giving developers only five weeks to sign up. Developers who do not sign the contract face ‘significant consequences’ according to the Department for Levelling up, Housing, and Communities (DLUHC).

What is the new Health and Safety contract?

The new Health and Safety contract is a legally binding agreement between the Government and developers regarding the replacement of unsafe cladding on their buildings.

Under the new legislation, approximately £2bn will be committed by developers for repairs on properties they have developed or refurbished in the last 30 years.

On top of this, developers will need to ensure the safety of their buildings going forward, in accordance with the Building Safety Levy, which will see the total spend increase to around the £5bn mark.

Where public funds have been used to fix unsafe properties in the past, the contract outlines that developers will need to reimburse taxpayers.

Going forward, developers will be required to inform tenants in affected properties about how they will be meeting these new commitments.


Why has the new legislation been introduced?

The first phase of the inquiry into the Grenfell Tower blaze concluded that unsafe cladding and building materials fuelled the fire that led to the deaths of 72 people.

As the fallout continues, the Government has been evaluating legislations relating to building safety, prompting changes to existing bills and introducing new contracts.

It’s hoped that the new Health and Safety contract will give leaseholders a framework of rights and responsibilities they can benefit from, such as getting their properties fixed without having to fork out for it themselves.

The contract has been brought forward to Monday, March 13th, just before the Spring Budget on March 15th.


What happens if I don't sign it?

According to the Department for Levelling Up, Housing, and Communities (DLUHC) there will be ‘significant consequences’ for those who do not sign the new legislation.

Michael Gove, Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing, and Communities, will have the ability to stop developers operating freely within the property market if they do not comply.

Speaking about the contract, Gove commented “In signing this contract, developers will be taking a big step towards restoring confidence in the sector and providing much-needed certainty to all concerned”.

Additionally, a Responsible Actors Scheme (RAS) will be introduced alongside the new Health and Safety contract, legally allowing Gove to block developers from receiving building control approval if they have not signed or complied with the new terms.

When taking out building insurance, freeholders and managing agents will be prohibited from receiving commissions under the new act.


What next?

On Monday 30th January, a letter was sent to developers from Director General, Richard Goodman, of Safer and Greener Buildings at NDLUHC to inform them of the Secretary of State’s new contract.

From this date, developers had six weeks to sign up. As of the release of this article, developers now have five weeks left to ensure they have agreed to the new Health and Safety contract.

The deadline for signing is Monday March 13th. For more information, visit http://www.gov.uk/dluhc


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