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Building Regulations

Volume 448: debated on Tuesday 4 July 2006

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government
(Angela E. Smith)

Part G of the building regulations, which relates to sanitation, bathrooms and hot water storage, already applies to refurbished homes. The Department is not currently reviewing part G, but is reviewing building regulations as a whole, including water efficiency and conservation, and will look at risks and standards including those under part G.

My hon. Friend will be aware that this year 600 people, three quarters of them children under five, will receive third degree burns to a significant percentage of their body as a result of bathwater scalds. In April this year, 10-year-old Holly Devonport from Wakefield came to this place to launch the hot water burns like fire campaign; she herself lost half of the skin on her body when she fell into a scalding bath as a five-year-old. I urge my hon. Friend to ensure that we achieve change in those building regulations, just as we have made changes to prevent death from electric shocks, gas and fires. Hot water is the last huge risk that is unregulated in the home.

I congratulate my hon. Friend on her commitment and persistence on this issue. She will be aware that in care homes for vulnerable adults measures are already in place through building regulations. We need to consider who is at risk, the level of that risk and the best way to address it. The building regulations review provides an opportunity to do that. I can give my hon. Friend an assurance that we will look carefully at the matter to see what can be done.