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Explained: Building Safety Charter

The Building Safety Charter was established by the Early Adopters Group with the support of the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government, with the vision of putting people's safety before everything else. It primarily refers to the structural safety and fire safety of buildings, but also applies to various other aspects like gas and electricity safety that influence the fire safety aspect of the building. 

The Building Safety Charter will be aligned with the Building Safety Regulator and will be aimed at putting safety first through various cultural and behavioural changes in the industry. The charter will also establish independent verification and benchmarking, best practices in the industry and increase the public’s trust by providing them with a platform for direct engagement. All these efforts will be to build a safer future for the public. The exact details of the charter are currently in the process of being established and rolled out across the industry with the help of the Considerate Constructors Scheme as the administrative partner. 

What does the Building Safety Charter Entail?

The Building Safety Charter consists of five main commitments that aim to put safety ahead of all building priorities. The five main commitments are:

Collaborate to spearhead culture change and be the voice of building safety across our sector

The first commitment of the charter talks about bringing about a culture shift in the industry. The aim is to create a culture that promotes transparency and accountability across every stage from the design, construction and during the occupation stages of a building. This ultimately would lead to creating a community that challenges each other, shares best practices and learnings and aims to continually improve the safety practices in the industry. 

Be transparent in the interests of safety, sharing key information with residents, clients, contractors and statutory bodies in a user-accessible manner in the design, construction and occupation phases of the process.

The second commitment in the charter talks about creating a digital record of key building safety information that can be accessed by residents, contractors, clients and statutory bodies, promoting transparency in the industry. It also proposes using social media to keep residents informed and to guide them when required. 

Make safety a key factor of choice in who we work with, ensuring building safety is placed at the centre of selection decisions without compromising quality or value for money.

The third commitment of the charter deals with selecting the right supply chain with a similar commitment to improving building safety. They should have a safety-first approach and move towards digital to ensure the creation of a digital record for new buildings.

Ensure that the voices and safety of residents, visitors and employees are central in our decision-making process.

The fourth commitment of the charter talks about establishing accountability in the industry and promoting transparency so that residents feel heard and safe. This can be achieved by establishing a dedicated person for each building who can deal with the various concerns and queries of the residents and keep them informed about all the developments and material changes to their building.

Set out and communicate clear responsibilities within our organisation and with our partners, ensuring everyone with a stake in the building design, construction and occupation understands their role and has the time resources they need to achieve and maintain building safety.

The fifth and final commitment in the charter talks about the clear defining of roles and responsibilities within teams and supply chains and the need to ensure a board-level commitment to putting safety first. This can be achieved through investing in training and professional development to ensure safety practices are being upheld industry-wide.