New Clause 20 - Regulations under section 131

Part of Building Safety Bill – in the House of Commons at 2:30 pm on 19th January 2022.

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Photo of Christopher Pincher Christopher Pincher Minister of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities) 2:30 pm, 19th January 2022

I am grateful to my hon. Friend. I assure him that the 30-year retrospection is what we decided on; it is not a typo and it should not read 25 years.

The prospective limitation period will remain at 15 years, as is currently proposed, which still represents a substantial extension beyond the existing six years. In a small number of cases, the retrospectively extended limitation period will expire very soon following the commencement of the provision. We believe that it is important that the extended limitation period is of practical benefit in the case of all buildings that fall within scope. That is why we have proposed adding section 4B(4) to the Limitation Act 1980 through clause 128, which will ensure that there is always a minimum amount of time to lodge a claim under section 1 of the Defective Premises Act for buildings whose limitation periods will be revived for a very short period of time.

As introduced, the Bill provided for an initial period of 90 days in which action relating to defective premises could be taken when the extension was about to run out. I agree with several of my hon. Friends that 90 days is an insufficient amount of time to take the necessary advice and lodge a claim, which is why we are bringing forward amendments 42 and 43 to extend the initial period to one year. That means that those in any buildings completed between mid-1992 and mid-1993 will always have one full year in which to lodge their claim, once this Bill and its provisions apply. These amendments will ensure that the retrospectively extended limitation period can be of practical benefit in the case of all buildings in scope, and I trust that the House will support them.

Clause 127 expands the scope of the Defective Premises Act to include refurbishment works, and a technical amendment in the next group will ensure that this commences two months after Royal Assent, ensuring that this important new safeguard against shoddy workmanship is taken up as soon as possible. This was a debate that we had, and agreed about, in Committee. I am grateful to my right hon. and hon. Friends, and indeed to colleagues across the House, for debating these matters and for tabling amendments in this area, but I hope that in the light of what I have said from the Dispatch Box they will feel able to withdraw their amendments.