Clause 38 - Breach of building regulations

Part of Building Safety Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 12:00 pm on 23rd September 2021.

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Photo of Christopher Pincher Christopher Pincher Minister of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities) 12:00 pm, 23rd September 2021

I am obliged to you, Mr Efford, and my hon. Friend, who is quite within his rights to ask for reassurances.

I reiterate that clause 38 needs to be read in conjunction with clause 37. I made it clear that the current building safety enforcement regime is not fit for purpose; there are too many gaps and loopholes. With compliance notices and stop notices, clause 37 tightens the regime. Clause 38 is designed to ensure that in the event of contravention of such notices, the enforcement powers and penalties are that much greater. If my hon. Friend reads clause 37 in conjunction with clause 38, he will see that we are doing exactly that—tightening up the loopholes from compliance and imposing stronger and more effective penalties where there are contraventions.

As I said in my opening remarks, the clause responds to the independent review’s recommendation to enhance sanctions available under the Building Act 1984, which is now some years old. We are committed to doing that and ensuring that where building regulations are contravened, building control authorities—the Building Safety Regulator or local authorities on whom the hat fits—have the necessary powers to enforce the rules and offenders receive a proportionate penalty for non-compliance.

It will be for building control authorities to act effectively but proportionately whenever they encounter non-compliance. We will come to that in more detail in further clauses. We are giving those building control authorities stronger powers to ensure that all buildings are designed and constructed in accordance with regulations, and to sanction those who do not follow those regulations. I commend the clause to the Committee.