The Building a Safer Future Charter has been created to promote an urgent and positive culture and behaviour change in the safety of the built environment. It is about putting people’s safety first in how we plan for, design, build, maintain, and look after the safety of the buildings we live, work or play in and protect those that use them.
The Grenfell Tower tragedy brought to the absolute fore the need to ensure the safety of all the buildings we live, work, and play in. The BSF Charter is a proactive response to Dame Judith Hackitt’s Building a Safer Future Review in the wake of the Grenfell Tower tragedy. It is being set up as a not-for-profit independent organisation.
It is clear that in relation to the built environment there is a need for substantial culture change, to bring in new practices, to learn and develop and work hard at trying to reassure the public and regain their confidence and trust in the safety of buildings, both in how they are built and also how they are managed.
The Charter has an essential role to play in helping to facilitate culture change and drive development and learnings around a collaborative community of those committed to putting people’s safety first.
Building safety should always be a fundamental part of how we look after our society – and it needs addressing – so that everyone feels safe and secure, ultimately, in all buildings across the UK now and in the future.
The Charter was originally conceived and created by a group of ‘Early Adopters’ comprising local authorities, contractors, housing associations and property developers, with the support of the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG).
In April 2020, the UK Government encouraged industry-wide commitment to sign-up to the Charter, in its response to the ‘Building a Safer Future’ consultation ‘A reformed building safety regulatory system’.
In early 2020, the Considerate Constructors Scheme (CCS) was appointed to develop and manage the Charter. The CCS has established a new, not-for-profit organisation (Building a Safer Future Ltd) with an independent governance structure, to lead and develop the Charter.
The Charter has been established to promote a culture change in the built-environment to help ensure that buildings are safe for those living and working in them and to protect life by putting safety first, ahead of all other building priorities. It is focussed on driving up standards, changing culture and behaviours and raising the bar in relation to building safety from design through to management and maintenance.
The Building a Safer Future Charter currently covers all High-Rise Residential Buildings (HRRBs) higher-risk and in-scope buildings being constructed or re-furbished which are over 18m or six storeys high. We believe that all buildings, of whatever height, should apply the principles of the Charter.
Sign-up to the Charter is recommended by the UK Government for any organisation working throughout the entire lifecycle of a building.
Companies and organisations can become Registered Signatories to the Building a Safer Future Charter. In doing so they can show their support for the Charter and its commitments and, by signing up, they are also making a demonstration of their commitment to putting people’s safety first, above all other priorities. Individuals working, or who have an interest in, the built environment sector can also become Charter Supporters.
Driving culture and behaviour change in the safety of the built environment is essential to putting people’s safety first. In driving this change, the BSF Charter will seek to provide the industry and public with:
• An engaged online community where good practice on building safety is shared and relevant examples, case studies and other resources are signposted through a Learning & Excellence Hub.
• A public and workforce engagement portal for anyone (public, resident, other building users, those working across the built environment) to raise building safety concerns in relation to projects registered and verified with the BSF Charter. (To be launched end 2020).
• Benchmarking and verification (working closely with and learning from the ‘Responsible Care’ benchmarking approach adopted by the chemical industry). (To be launched end 2020).
Organisations can sign up to become Registered Signatories of the BSF Charter here, and will, by doing so:
• Confirm your organisation’s commitment to being part of driving cultural change in building safety.
• Demonstrate a strong and positive statement of support for the vision of the Charter and its five commitments to the public, government, your clients, co-workers, and supply chain as well as the rest of the industry.
• Collaborate through submitting and using the resources on the online community provided by the Charter’s Learning and Excellence Hub.
Sign up to the Building a Safer Future Charter mailing list. By signing up, you will receive more information about the Building Safety Charter as it develops.