We’re demonstrating our commitment to building safety by being one of the very first companies to begin the process of becoming a Charter Champion company.

The Building a Safer Future (BSF) Charter has been created to promote an urgent and positive culture and behaviour change in the safety of the built environment. It focuses on 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.

Wates is working to ensure that the five commitments of the BSF Charter, that demonstrate commitment to protecting life by putting safety first, ahead of all other building priorities, is at the heart of everything we do as an organisation.

The BSF Charter has just launched its ‘Charter Champion’ company initiative to help companies drive the systemic culture change required to put building safety first.

As an organisation, we will now engage in a robust self-assessment, benchmarking and independent verification process to identify help us develop continuous improvement plans to advance our overall approach and performance on leadership and culture in relation to building safety.

The Building a Safer Future Charter has been endorsed by Dame Judith Hackitt as an “important programme which offers a real market differentiation opportunity” and the Charter was also highlighted by the Industry Safety Steering Group (ISSG) as a key mechanism for leading the culture change required for industry in their report for the Secretary of State and the Minister for Building Safety published in August 2020.

The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Governments (MHCLG) and the HSE have also backed the BSF Charter Champion initiative.

Chief Executive of the Building a Safer Future Charter, Amanda Long said:

“I am delighted to welcome the first companies, and particularly Wates on their journey to achieving Charter Champion Company status. These organisations are demonstrating real sectoral leadership and taking an important step in driving forwards the systemic culture change in relation to major hazard safety that is required across the built environment sector and through the entire value chain.

In the built environment sector, the Grenfell Tower Disaster has put building safety at the top of everyone’s agenda. From a moral, social and economic perspective it’s now imperative that we embed enduring values, attitudes and ethical behaviours at the heart of all we do.

The resounding message across the built environment sector is don’t wait for regulation, action should be taken urgently to tackle the culture surrounding building safety. The Building a Safer Future Charter is a practical and immediate way to demonstrate a commitment to this vital issue and begin the change required. It should be a priority for everyone.”

Stephen Beechey, Group Public Sector Director at Wates Group, said:

“Meeting a high standard of quality is a key issue for the whole construction industry. The current system has too often prioritised time and cost at the expense of quality and, as an industry, we need to work together to promote an urgent and positive culture change in the safety of the built environment. Delivering lasting legacies for the communities where we operate is a key priority for the Wates Group, and the Building a Safer Future Charter will help us to promote this objective through continuous improvement, robust self-assessment and benchmarking.”

For more information about the Building a Safer Future Charter and how to get involved, visit https://buildingasaferfuture.org.uk/charter-champions-benchmarking-about/.

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