Following the investigation into the Grenfell Tower tragedy, the government announced plans for major reforms to the building safety regulatory system. In April 2020, everyone working in the construction and management of buildings was encouraged to sign-up to a new charter for safety, the Building A Safer Future Charter.
The charter, which is about putting people’s safety first, was created by a number of ‘early adopters’ of safety recommendations emerging from the Grenfell enquiry, including local authorities, contractors, housing associations and developers. Its aim is to promote urgent and positive change in the culture and behaviour of those working in the building environment so that safety always comes first. It is supported by the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG).
We have now added our signature to the charter, joining the likes of RICS, Clarion Group, Persimmon and Keepmoat Homes and many others. It is our pledge to help make sure that buildings are safe for those who live and work in them, and to protect life by putting safety ahead of all other building priorities.
The charter currently covers all high-rise residential buildings (HRRBs) which are over 18m or six storeys high. The only buildings presently in scope for us are two blocks in Aldershot, Alexander House and Stafford House, on which safety work to remove cladding is underway, but more will be included as part of the Egham Gateway development. The charter’s belief is that all buildings, regardless of height, should apply the same principles. That is the approach we are adopting.
The charter aims to make sure that any company which builds and manages homes and premises always puts the safety of their customers first. It will share examples of good practice and set up a portal for anyone, (public, resident, other building users, those working across the built environment), to raise any safety concerns about projects registered and verified with the BSF Charter and use ‘Responsible Care’ benchmarking approach adopted by the chemical industry to monitor progress.
By signing up to the charter, we are confirming our commitment to being part of driving cultural change in building safety.
Chief Executive Paul Dolan said: “We are pleased to become a registered signatory of the Building a Safer Future Charter. Safety has always been of paramount importance in all our buildings, and across all our services at Accent. Becoming a registered signatory is an important first step towards achieving the culture and behavioural change required in relation to the Charter’s objectives around building safety across the sector. In confirming our support, we will work to ensure we embed the principles of the charter into our activities, and we have a great opportunity to get involved in the wider issues surrounding building safety, helping to improve it for everyone living and working in the sector.”
Nick Isherwood, Building Safety Manager said “Signing up to the Charter demonstrates the Accent commitment to building safety, not only to our customers and colleagues, but also our contractors and wider stakeholders. Together we can work to change the culture across the sector and rightly prioritise our customers and their safety”.