Conservative Party Conference: Housing Speech: BSRIA response

Commenting on the speech by secretary of state for housing, communities and local government, James Brokenshire, at the Conservative Party Conference in Birmingham, Tassos Kougionis, principal consultant for residential, at BSRIA’s Sustainable Construction Group, said: “BSRIA is pleased with the government announcement of the creation of a New Homes Ombudsman. We always supported the introduction of a better, more efficient and robust consumer-focused redress process regarding new homes’ quality which is now one step closer from being realised. 

“We have actively engaged and supported the advancement of the New Homes Ombudsman dialogue by authoring a response to the Construction Industry Council (CIC) New Homes Ombudsman Inquiry – Call for Evidence and by discussing our response with the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Excellence in the Built Environment (APPGEBE). This called on government to make it mandatory for all housebuilders to belong to an independent New Homes Ombudsman scheme.

“BSRIA has also advocated that ‘prevention is better than a cure’ and that emphasis must also be given to the introduction of effective quality control routines preventing new homes’ quality issues arising in the first place along with greater transparency provided to the consumer in terms of housing insurance products and warrantees. As a member of the CIC Housing Panel we will ensure that such concerns are raised and heard.”   

Tassos also gave BSRIA’s reaction to the government announcement of the banning of combustible materials:

Following the Grenfell Tower tragedy government established a comprehensive building safety programme that included an independent review on fire safety and building regulations. In the summer the government published its response to this review and said it would ban the use of combustible materials on external walls of high-rise buildings subject to consultation.

As part of its comprehensive programme to improve building safety, and following this consultation, government confirmed that it will take forward this ban on the use of combustible materials on external walls of all high-rise buildings that contain flats, as well as hospitals, residential care premises and student accommodation above 18 metres.

This ban will be delivered through changes to Building Regulations and will limit materials available to products achieving a European classification of Class A1 or A2.

Tassos said: “The Grenfell tragedy had a huge impact on both our communities and the construction industry as a whole. As part of the construction industry, BSRIA remains committed to supporting and advising on policies, legislations and initiatives that increase construction’s standards, lead to the production of advanced risk assessment tools and introduce measures so incidents like this never repeat again.

“As part of this commitment, BSRIA contributed to the CIC response to the consultation on banning the use of combustible materials on the external walls of high-rise residential buildings. BSRIA is pleased to see the introduction of a ban in the use of combustible materials on external walls of high-rise residential buildings along with its extension to other building types than homes alone.”