Homes England, the Government’s housing delivery agency, has become a Registered Signatory of the Building a Safer Future Charter.
Registered Signatories commit to putting people’s safety first during the design, construction, refurbishment and occupation of residential buildings.
This builds on the recent news from Homes England that those looking to use the new Help to Buy scheme must have signed the Building a Safer Future Charter.
The agency is calling on the sector to follow its lead and is exploring options that will require developers and other organisations looking to work with Homes England to also become Registered Signatories of the Charter.
Nick Walkley, Chief Executive of Homes England said:
“Designing and constructing buildings that are safe to live in is a fundamental responsibility of everyone working in the built environment. Dame Judith Hackitt’s Review and the investigation into the Grenfell Tower fire have shone a light on the sector overlooking the safety of its residents and customers, and this absolutely has to change.”
“Homes England is committed to making the housing market work for everyone and will leverage its role in the sector, as well as its land, funding and expertise to change behaviour, and build a consensus around transparency, collaboration and prioritising the safety of residents.”
Duncan Sutherland, Homes England Deputy Chair:
“As Chair of Homes England’s Safety, Health and Environment Committee I welcome today’s announcement as a positive step forward and signal of intent. I know the agency is committed to showing leadership in this space and is looking at how it can go further. The Board will continue to challenge and support the Homes England Executive to exhibit, promote and lever the behaviours we want our partners and the wider sector to display.”
Amanda Long, Chief Executive of the Building Safety Charter said:
“It is superb for the momentum of the Building a Safer Future Charter to have Homes England’s commitment to the principles of the Charter and using its influential position to encourage sign-up of the Charter.
“We are seeing an increasing number of organisations at all levels and sectors within the construction industry becoming Registered Signatories of the Charter. This is particularly encouraging as we look to next year and the evolution of how the Charter will utilise benchmarking and verification to underpin its aims of engaging with the entire industry to drive the urgent need for positive culture and behaviour change in the safety of the built environment.”
The Building a Safer Future (BSF) Charter has announced the appointment of its first independent Chair and Board of Directors.
The Board has been created to provide robust governance and accountability of the BSF Charter and marks an important step in the BSF Charter’s development. The Board is responsible for providing effective leadership in collaboration with the BSF Charter’s Chief Executive, Amanda Long.
Stephen Elliott (Chief Executive of the Chemical Industries Association) has been appointed as the independent Chair of the skills-based Board of Directors of the not-for-profit organisation.
In addition to Stephen, the Board comprises eight Board Directors: John Brett (London Borough of Camden, Director of Resident Safety); Paula Heatley (Peabody, Assistant Director New Homes & Quality); John Monks (British Airways, Director of Safety and Security); Diana Montgomery (Construction Products Association, Chief Operating Officer); Teresa Ocansey (Board member and resident of Wandle Housing); Lucy Rowsell (Effiage, Kier, Ferrovial Bam JV (for HS2), Head of Information Management); Jeremy Stibbe (JSA Ltd, building safety planning and regeneration); and Graham Watts (Construction Industry Council, Chief Executive Officer).
The composition of experience and expertise drawn from the Board Directors provides the essential knowledge and understanding of resident safety, working with residents and communities, construction and the built environment, local authorities, housing associations, combined with external non-industry expertise in different fields of major hazard safety, including the aviation sector.
As independent Chair of the Board, Stephen’s leadership of the CIA brings in-depth knowledge and understanding of the CIA’s Responsible Care program (a voluntary set of health, safety and environmental commitments undertaken by chemical businesses to support all aspects of their operational activities at UK sites to ensure high levels of protection for employees, customers, the public and other stakeholders, and for the environment). This understanding is integral to the success of the BSF Charter as many of the learnings from Responsible Care – first established in the UK in 1989 – will help to provide the BSF Charter with a robust and proven model for engagement across the built environment.
As well as Stephen’s role in leading the Chemical Industries Association, Stephen brings a wealth of experience and understanding of major hazards and process safety management across other roles including being member of the COMAH (Control of Major Accident Hazards) Strategic Forum and a member of the Process Safety Management Competence Board.
Building a Safer Future Charter Chief Executive Amanda Long commented: “The BSF Charter is all 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. Getting the right combination of expertise by bringing together independent Board Directors with direct experience in resident safety and community engagement programmes, as well as expertise major hazard safety and senior leadership from within construction will help to achieve the positive culture and behaviour changes which puts building safety first.”
Stephen Elliott, Building a Safer Future Chair, said: “I am extremely pleased and proud to be involved in helping to lead the Building a Safer Future Charter, alongside my fellow Board Directors and the Charter’s Chief Executive.
“The BSF Charter is at an incredibly important phase of development and adoption by organisations working across the built environment. Working hard to deliver a robust, challenging and accountable Charter will be crucial if we are to achieve the trust amongst all building users, those who work in the industry, communities and the wider public.”
To find out more about the independent Chair and Board of Directors, click here.
Click here to become a Registered Signatory of the Charter.
The Considerate Constructors Scheme have been appointed in an open selection process earlier this year to develop and manage the Building a Safer Future (BSF) Charter.
The BSF Charter has been established to drive a culture change across the built environment; to help to drive a culture that seeks to ensure that buildings are safe for those living and working in them and seeks to protect life by putting safety first, ahead of all other building priorities.
It 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).
To develop and manage the BSF Charter, the CCS is working closely with the Early Adopters, the Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government, and other relevant organisations to it forwards.
Speaking about how the CCS will work to develop and manage the BSF Charter going forwards, Chief Executive Amanda Long said: “We are focussing on raising standards in the industry and building public trust in relation to building safety. We will do this by providing a robust approach to benchmarking and independent verification of projects, as well as providing a public portal for anyone to raise concerns they may have about the safety of a building.
“At the same time, we are currently developing the BSF Charter’s Learning and Excellence Hub to create a community where best practice on building safety is shared and relevant examples, case studies and other resources are signposted. This will help to provide the ongoing information and collaboration space needed to support behaviour change, continuous engagement, and relevance.
We have received over 100 early expressions of interest from organisations and individuals across the built environment who would like to become a Registered Signatory and we look forward to these organisations and many more becoming part of the BSF Charter community.”
To find out more about the BSF Charter and to become a signatory of the Charter, click here.