Clause 68 - Meaning of “occupied” higher-risk building etc

Building Safety Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 10:00 am on 19th October 2021.

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

Photo of Eddie Hughes Eddie Hughes Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)

Clause 68 defines the meaning of “occupied” and a resident of a higher-risk building. They are key definitions that determine the application of the obligations under the new, more stringent regime provided for in part 4. As the Committee will recall, the definition in clause 62 defines the meaning of a higher-risk building as one that is at least 18 metres in height, has at least seven storeys and contains at least two residential units.

Clause 68 gives details of the meaning of an occupied higher-risk building. It states that if a higher-risk building is to be classified as occupied, residents must actually be living in the building. Specifically there must be residents in more than one residential unit in the building. If there is a building that meets the definition of higher risk but that is not occupied for the time being, it will not be subject to most of the obligations under part 4 such as the registration requirement or production of the safety case. I will discuss that later. However, some of the provisions kick in regardless of occupation. A reference to a resident of a higher-risk building is to a resident of a residential unit. The definition of a residential unit will be discussed at clause 123.

Clause 68 creates a power for the Secretary of State to amend the definition of “occupied” and the resident of a higher-risk building. By way of regulations, the Secretary of State has a power to define the meaning of being the resident of a residential unit. This is to ensure that the scope and definitions can be amended to meet future policy relating to building safety regulation.

Photo of Mike Amesbury Mike Amesbury Shadow Minister (Housing, Communities and Local Government)

I have a quick point for the Minister. If one person were resident in a high-risk building of above 18 metres, they would not be covered by the Bill.

Photo of Eddie Hughes Eddie Hughes Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)

That is correct. In those circumstances, that could be an individual’s home and we are not in the business of legislating to that extent. The idea of the Bill and proportionality is that it covers properties in multiple occupation.

Photo of Marie Rimmer Marie Rimmer Opposition Whip (Commons)

Does that mean that it would not be worth selling?

Photo of Peter Dowd Peter Dowd Labour, Bootle

Order. The Minister has finished so we will leave it at that.

Question put and agreed to.

Clause 68 accordingly ordered to stand part of the Bill.