Flats: Coronavirus

Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities written question – answered on 21st January 2022.

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Photo of Liz Saville-Roberts Liz Saville-Roberts Shadow PC Spokesperson (Home Affairs), Shadow PC Spokesperson (Women and Equalities) , Plaid Cymru Westminster Leader, Shadow PC Spokesperson (Justice), Shadow PC Spokesperson (Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy), Shadow PC Spokesperson (Transport), Shadow PC Spokesperson (Attorney General)

To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, whether there are regulations in place to regulate the implementation of ventilation and other covid-19 safety measures in communal areas of residential blocks of flats which include a mix of permanent tenants and holiday lets.

Photo of Liz Saville-Roberts Liz Saville-Roberts Shadow PC Spokesperson (Home Affairs), Shadow PC Spokesperson (Women and Equalities) , Plaid Cymru Westminster Leader, Shadow PC Spokesperson (Justice), Shadow PC Spokesperson (Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy), Shadow PC Spokesperson (Transport), Shadow PC Spokesperson (Attorney General)

To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, if he will make an assessment of the implications for his policies on future building standards for communal areas in blocks of flats of the need to protect occupants from infection with covid-19, in particular where some of the flats are used as holiday lets.

Photo of Christopher Pincher Christopher Pincher Minister of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)

COVID-19 has shown the importance of ventilation in reducing the spread of infection. In England, it is through Part F of the Building Regulations that we set minimum ventilation standards for new buildings, or when work is done to an existing building. We have recently published our response to the Future Buildings Standard Consultation which sets out new guidance on Part F, to come into force in June 2022. The new guidance includes measures to mitigate the risks of airborne infection in new buildings, including CO2 monitoring and updated specifications for systems that recirculate air between rooms.

Buildings should be provided with an adequate means of ventilation as a requirement of the Building Regulations. The updated guidance for shared communal rooms (such as laundry rooms or communal gyms) in flats is provided in Approved Document F2. This states that rooms in new buildings where aerobic exercise is likely to take place, such as communal gyms, should have CO2 monitors installed, which allow air quality to be monitored.

Building regulations apply when a new building is erected, or when building work is done to an existing building. They apply equally to buildings irrespective of tenure, including those that are let for short periods of time, such as holiday lets.

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