Westminster Social Policy Forum

Since lockdown, we have been organising our full programme of conferences online. We will continue online until further notice, to ensure we play our part in helping our employees and delegates to remain safe during this time. We are pleased that so many key stakeholders, policymakers and other interested parties - both old friends and new delegates - are taking up the opportunity to discuss public policy issues and network at our impartial seminars. New events are coming on to our conference programme all the time. So there are plenty of opportunities for you to join us if you haven’t already, from wherever you are. For booking-related queries, or information on speaking, please email us at info@forumsupport.co.uk or contact us using one of the following numbers: +44 (0)7538736244 / +44 (0)7503591880 / +44 (0)7951044809.
For delegates already booked on, we will send you the online joining instructions (including links, event numbers and passwords) five working days before your conference. If you cannot find these in your inbox please email delegate.relations@forumsupport.co.uk

Next steps for building regulations and fire safety - regulatory priorities, stakeholder engagement and responsibilities, and achieving whole-system culture change

Morning, Tuesday, 20th July 2021

***Full-scale policy conference taking place online***

This conference is examining next steps for improving building standards and fire safety in the UK - looking at priorities for the new Building Safety Regulator, and the impact of forthcoming changes to the regulatory landscape.

The discussion is taking place in the context of the ongoing Grenfell Tower Inquiry, with the Government’s recently announced five-point plan for building regulation committing to protecting leaseholders from the cost of replacing unsafe cladding - as well as the Planning for the Future white paper, which aims to streamline and modernise the planning process.

The agenda will bring out latest thinking in areas such as:

  • regulation - priorities for the new Building Safety Regulator and the regulatory framework
  • fire safety - looking at issues for the implementation of the Fire Safety Bill, as well as ensuring industry compliance and best practice
  • building confidence - priorities for effective engagement with tenants, landlords, and property owners, and embedding safety in design

The discussion is bringing together stakeholders with key policy officials who are due to attend from the Government Legal Department and the Welsh Government; as well as parliamentary pass-holders from the House of Commons Library.

The agenda

  • Building regulation - the policy landscape and key issues for the future
  • Taking forward the new regulatory framework and priorities for the new Building Safety Regulator
  • Next steps for improving fire safety and building regulation - implementation, industry compliance and competence, local enforcement, and developing best practice and standards
  • Achieving whole-system improvement - embedding safety into design, strengthening accountability, driving culture change, and effective engagement with residents and property owners
  • Policy priorities for improving building standards and fire safety

Key areas for discussion:

  • priorities for the new Building Safety Regulator - set up as part of the Draft Building Safety Bill, to:
    • oversee the safe design, construction and occupation of high-risk buildings
    • give expert advice to those across the sector 
  • priorities for policy - improving industry compliance and competence, local enforcement, and developing best practice and standards:
    • the Fire Safety Bill and Draft Building Safety Bill - evaluating their impact, including:
      • how amendments to the 2005 Fire Safety Order, designed to simplify responsibility for fire safety in buildings containing more than one home, have affected local enforcement action
      • assessing additional measures, support or enforcement that might be needed
    • regulation and standards - including the role of professional bodies in supporting the development and dissemination of stronger regulatory and industry standards
    • options for further action - whether more is needed to identify risk earlier, improve engagement with fire services, and speed up regulatory change
  • priorities for industry - driving further improvements in compliance, competence and transparency, with the Future of Building Control Working Group calling for:
    • a new competence framework
    • simplification of process and procedures
    • a new code of conduct to set clear expectations for the sector
  • growing stakeholder confidence:
    • effective engagement with residents, tenants and property owners - structures, strategies and best practice so that the voices of residents and communities are taken into account, ensuring:
      • their concerns are heard quickly and effectively
      • they feel safe
      • they are informed about any changes that are happening
    • embedding safety into design - best practice and practicalities for architecture, construction businesses, local authorities and others
    • strengthening accountability - assessing whether proposals to enhance the role of the responsible person or duty-holder go far enough in terms of the responsibilities of building owners
    • safety priorities:
      • the Grenfell Tower Inquiry - lessons learned, and priorities for driving the necessary changes to culture across the sector
      • cladding removal - priorities for ensuring the removal of all unsafe cladding from all high-rise buildings
      • further opportunities to build safety into design, and ensure building safety regulations are followed along the various stages of design, construction, occupation, and maintenance
  • the way forward - further policy and regulatory priorities for improving building standards and fire safety

Relevant developments:

  • the ongoing Grenfell Tower Inquiry - with plans to return to limited attendance hearings
  • the Draft Building Safety Bill - which forms part of the Government’s response to the Independent Review into Building Regulations and Fire Safety, including establishing new Building Safety Regulator
  • the Fire Safety Bill - setting out plans to clarify that in multi-occupied, residential buildings the responsible person or duty-holder must manage and reduce the risk of fire for:
    • the structure and external walls of the building, including cladding, balconies and windows
    • entrance doors to individual flats that open into common parts
  • the Government’s Five-point plan to bring an end to unsafe cladding, which includes aims to:
    • fund the cost of replacing unsafe cladding for all leaseholders in residential buildings of 18 metres (6 storeys) and over in England
    • introduce a developer levy, which will apply when developers seek permission to build certain high-rise buildings in England
    • introduce a new tax for the UK residential property development sector, with the government committing to consult on the policy design in due course
  • Planning for the future - the government white paper, with proposals to reform and streamline England’s current system
  • the Future of building control working group - bringing together key parties to develop proposals for the future oversight and regulation of Building Control Bodies and professionals working in the field

Policy officials attending:

Our forums are known for attracting strong interest from policymakers and stakeholders.

Overall, we expect speakers and attendees to be a senior and informed group including Members of both Houses of Parliament, senior government and regulatory officials involved in this area of policy, as well as from local authorities, combined authorities, housing associations, developers, the construction and construction products sector, architecture, surveying, business, skills, infrastructure, lawyers, academics, think tanks, environmental organisations, residents groups, those who work in energy efficiency, fire safety, the independent and third sectors, and others concerned with the issues discussed, together with reporters from the national and specialist media.

This is a full-scale conference taking place online***

  • full, four-hour programme including comfort breaks - you’ll also get a full recording and transcript to refer back to
  • information-rich discussion involving key policymakers and stakeholders
  • conference materials provided in advance, including speaker biographies
  • speakers presenting via webcam, accompanied by slides if they wish, using the Cisco WebEx professional online conference platform (easy for delegates - we’ll provide full details)
  • opportunities for live delegate questions and comments with all speakers
  • a recording of the addresses, all slides cleared by speakers, and further materials, is made available to all delegates afterwards as a permanent record of the proceedings
  • delegates are able to add their own written comments and articles following the conference, to be distributed to all attendees and more widely
  • networking too - there will be opportunities for delegates to e-meet and interact - we’ll tell you how!

Full information and guidance on how to take part will be sent to delegates before the conferenc

Keynote Speakers

Martin Taylor

Director of Regulatory Policy, LABC

Damien Dacey

Deputy Director, Building Safety Programme, Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government


Jim Shannon MP

Chair, All-Party Parliamentary Group for Healthy Homes and Buildings


Peter Caplehorn

Chief Executive, Construction Products Association

Gary Strong

Chair, Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors

Professor Richard Hull

Professor of Chemistry and Fire Science, School of Physical Sciences and Computing, University of Central Lancashire

Blase Lambert

Chief Officer, The Confederation of Co-operative Housing

Dr Nigel Glen

Chief Executive Officer, Association of Residential Managing Agents

Councillor Kim Taylor-Smith

Lead Member, Grenfell, Housing and Social Investment, Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea

Adrian Dobson

Executive Director, Professional Services, Royal Institute of British Architects