Clause 33 - buildings

High Speed Rail (London - West Midlands) Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 3:15 pm on 1 March 2016.

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Question proposed, That the clause stand part of the Bill .

Photo of Robert Goodwill Robert Goodwill Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)

Clause 33 introduces schedules 22 and 23, which make provision for disapplication of certain legislation relating to buildings and party walls. Schedule 22 provides for the disapplication or modification of various provisions of the Building Act 1984 and building regulations. The provisions include drain repairs and disconnections, the raising of chimneys and the construction of cellars and rooms below subsoil water level. Schedule 23 modifies the Party Wall etc. Act 1996. Among the modifications is an amended process for the resolution of disputes. Disputes will be settled by a single arbitrator agreed by both parties or, in default of agreement, appointed by the president of the Institution of Civil Engineers. Either party may appeal to the county court against the award of the arbitrator.

We changed the process for the resolution of disputes because under the 1996 Act disputes are settled by a surveyor appointed by the parties or, failing agreement, by three surveyors. One is appointed by each party, plus a third surveyor appointed by those surveyors. Such surveyors will not necessarily have the specialist expertise required to make determinations about railway infrastructure. Under the Bill, disputes are to be determined by a single surveyor or engineer appointed in default of agreement by the president of the Institution of Civil Engineers. This will ensure that the arbitrator will have the necessary specialist expertise. In addition, the process has been streamlined to secure the speedy determination of disputes. I commend the clause to the Committee.

Question put and agreed to.

Clause 33 accordingly ordered to stand part of the Bill

Schedules 22 and 23 agreed to.