The Ministry for Housing, Communities and Local Government has just published the updated building safety bill a year on from when it was first announced in July 2020. The intention is to strengthen the regulatory system for building safety following the Grenfell Tower fire in June 2017.
Amongst other things, the bill proposes to introduce several important changes to the Defective Premises Act 1972. The bill creates a new duty under the act on construction professionals who do any work on a building which contains a dwelling to ensure that the work does not render the dwelling unfit for habitation. Previously, works relating to repairs, extensions or refurbishment to existing dwellings were not covered by the Defective Premises Act 1972.
The bill also proposes to extend the limitation period for claims under the Defective Premises Act 1972 from six to 15 years. For some claims, the extended limitation period will apply retrospectively, meaning that claims that were previously considered statute-barred under the Defective Premises Act 1972 by virtue of the former six-year limitation period could now be brought.
These changes aim to extend the routes for redress for owners of both new and existing buildings and are in line with the increasingly liberal approach adopted by the courts to enable cladding claims to proceed. The changes proposed by the bill will undoubtably place greater focus on claims under the Defective Premises Act 1972 and will be welcomed by building owners.
In the article linked below, Joanna Lewis and Sophie-Rose Bowen of international construction law and insurance experts Beale & Co discuss the proposed amendments to the Defective Premises Act 1972.