Why new Scottish building legislation is a step in the right direction

Building safety and fire compliance involving cladding on high-rise buildings has become a prominent topic across the UK, with local governments assessing laws and regulations to help fix non-compliant buildings. The Scottish Government has presented the Housing Bill to MSPs at Holyrood. Paul McLennan MSP, Minister for Housing, has informed MSPs on the Local Government, Housing and Planning Committee that “the provisions within this Bill are key to addressing barriers to delivery of the Scottish Government’s Cladding Remediation Programme.”

In the aftermath of the Grenfell disaster in June 2017, the various devolved governments and the UK Government undertook work to improve and update building regulations and laws on building safety. Since then, The Scottish Government has introduced a series of important measures including The Ministerial Working Group on Building and Fire Safety, the establishment of an Inventory of High Rise Buildings and the Single Building Assessment Programme

However, other measures announced by the government have stalled progress on the remediation programme. Ministers have been unable to find complete agreement with Homes for Scotland and the UK’s top 10 largest developers on the Scottish Safer Building Accord. This has slowed progress on the roll-out of the programme, causing some frustration and concern among residents who are yet to see work begin on their homes.

The new legislation proposed by the Scottish Government proposes several safeguarding measures for residents affected by the cladding crisis. The proposed Cladding Assurance Register will record important information for ministerial record. It will include the results of a building’s Single Building Assessment and any updates on remedial works carried out previously. This database will be highly significant as it ensures a joint approach for every building in need of remedial works across Scotland.

The bill also grants powers to the Scottish Government to arrange for a Single Building Assessment on any concerns from residents in affected buildings can now be addressed through the new legislation introduced in the Scottish Parliament.

A High-Rise Inventory in 2021 concluded that 49% of high-rise buildings above 18 meters and 10% of buildings between 11 and 18 metres required remedial work. That meant over 880 buildings across Scotland require or have required some form of remedial works since 2021.

To rectify this problem and ensure building safety standards do not fall below the levels set out by this legislation, residents, developers and government must work together. To help, Anamore now offers an initial non-intrusive site visit advice service to clients who are concerned or worried that their apartment complex may not be fire compliant or may have cladding or balcony defects.

Developers need to show their full co-operation with the new scheme, residents deserve to be given the opportunity to live in their own homes without the worry of building defects on their mind and this can only be achieved through an impactful remediation programme.

Although some issues from the Housing Bill will need addressed ahead of time, it is pleasing that all the major political parties represented at Holyrood are supportive of the new legislation, working together to ensure this bill will be a defining moment in Scotland’s journey to building safety. The Housing Bill presented at the Scottish Parliament comes at a time of financial pressures, however it is a step in the right direction.

Anamore is a leading building remediation specialist covering works right across the UK and Ireland. Following the Grenfell disaster in 2017, they saw a dramatic upsurge in demand for services in the building remediation sector. They have completed work on several projects in Dundee and Edinburgh, as well as advising and completing inspection work for managing agents and insurers across several apartment complexes in Scotland.


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