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What's New

The following are aspects of our work where guidance, legislative change or services have either altered in the recent past or are anticipated to do so in the coming years. If you wish to learn more, please get in touch.

Energy Act 2011

From 1 September 2016, owners of large commercial properties in Scotland (i.e. over 1000m² whose construction pre-dates 2002 Building Regulations) will have to produce an "action plan" when selling or leasing their property. The Scottish Regulations will not prevent owners from leasing properties with poor EPC ratings, but owners will have to choose whether energy efficiency is monitored and reported upon annually, or whether works to improve energy efficiency and reduce emissions will be carried out to the property. An owner looking to sell or lease a property will have to provide any prospective buyer or tenant with an "action plan" free of charge. Importantly, no "action plan" is needed for an existing tenant renewing a lease, or a tenant taking a short-term lease i.e. less than 16 weeks.
From April 2018 in England and Wales the situation differs in so far as it is no longer possible to let a property that has an F or G banding.

Building Dangers

We expect that the Grenfel Tower fire in June 2017 will result in changes to the Building Regulations. Not surprisingly perhaps, the very first ‘building’ Regulations over 800 years ago arose out of a desire to protect Londoners against fires… affecting thatched roofs. Recent reports suggest that information made available to industry professionals by the cladding material suppliers may have been inaccurate in terms of fire spread characteristics, but it also seems as though many other mistakes have been made along the way! As a result it is increasingly important that everyone responsible for buildings remain vigilant, as fire safety is a hugely important element and one that we can assist clients with.

On a smaller scale, but no less important are the numerous situations affecting various PFI and other school premises over recent years where falling masonry cladding, collapsing walls, falling ceilings and detachment of externally mounted signs have all resulted in near misses, injuries and in some cases fatalities. In our many high streets there are masonry falls on a daily basis. These too regularly result in what are termed near misses; there have been a number of recent injuries and a few fatalities. Building owners and occupiers risk prosecution if they cannot show they have taken reasonable steps to maintain a building for which they are responsible. The regular inspection of buildings both internally and externally can assist owners identify and mitigate potential risks.