Clause 87 - Mandatory reporting requirements

Building Safety Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 2:00 pm 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 87 creates requirements for mandatory occurrence reporting for occupied higher-risk buildings under the new building safety regime. The Government recognise the success of mandatory occurrence reporting systems in improving the safety of industries the world over, including the UK’s civil aviation industry.

We concur with the recommendation in the independent review that systems of mandatory occurrence reporting be set up under the new building safety regime, and the clause contributes to its implementation. It requires the principal accountable person of an occupied higher-risk building to establish and operate an effective system for capturing and reporting safety occurrences. Accountable persons will be required to report such occurrences to the Building Safety Regulator. A safety occurrence will be defined in secondary legislation; the intention is to capture any structural or fire safety event or situation that presents a significant risk to life.

Accountable persons will be responsible for taking all reasonable steps to ensure that mandatory occurrences are identified, and that when they are the Building Safety Regulator is informed as soon as is practicable. In addition to that immediate notification, accountable persons will be responsible for ensuring that a full report is submitted to the Building Safety Regulator within a specified timeframe. Once received, the Building Safety Regulator can choose to use a mandatory occurrence report as a basis for further investigative action if necessary. The situations or events that will constitute reportable occurrences, along with information needed in the reports and reporting timescales, will be prescribed in secondary legislation.

Safety occurrences will represent the most serious of safety-related incidents. Non-compliance with mandatory occurrence reporting will be a criminal offence. Mandatory occurrence reporting will ensure that the Building Safety Regulator receives the crucial intelligence needed to identify systemic issues in the management of a building’s safety and take effective enforcement measures.

We expect reports received by the Building Safety Regulator to contain valuable lessons learned and allow for identification of emerging safety trends across the built environment. The Building Safety Regulator will be able to share that useful information with industry to improve safety standards and best practices across the built environment. For example, lessons learned from a series of reported safety occurrences relating to fires may allow others in industry to amend their fire safety protocols and raise safety standards accordingly. Alternatively, a reported rise in a type of safety occurrence, such as a widely used fire door discovered to be defective, may prompt industry to identify otherwise unknown risks.

We also expect that the sharing of such information will further underline to industry the value and importance of reporting safety incidents, helping to promote a more positive, proactive culture around safety reporting. Mandatory occurrence reporting will ensure that incidents too serious for voluntary occurrence reporting are captured, reported to the Building Safety Regulator, and learned from. The two reporting systems, along with whistleblowing, will work in a complementary manner to engender a more proactive culture around safety reporting within industry.

Question put and agreed to.

Clause 87 accordingly ordered to stand part of the Bill.