The chief inspector of buildings at the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), Peter Baker, has announced his retirement weeks after the new building safety regime began.
The sudden announcement of his retirement has come as a surprise to many in the industry.
A veteran regulator at the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), Baker was appointed to lead and establish the Building Safety Regulator (BSR) in early 2021 following Dame Judith Hackitt’s Building a Safer Future report recommendations.
Baker welcomed the appointment at the time as an “opportunity to play a lead role in bringing about the biggest change in building safety for a generation”.
“We will have a role in keeping an eye on the whole system,” Baker told Construction Management Magazine in 2021. “Where it is not working, we will make recommendations to the secretary of state to improve the system.”
Long term role at HSE
Baker has held a number of senior operational roles at HSE, dealing with a range of industry sectors, including construction, major hazard industries and local authorities.
He led HSE’s reform and delivery of the regulatory regime for chemical and downstream oil industries and was appointed HSE’s chief inspector of construction in 2015.
From 2017, Baker led HSE’s involvement in the government’s Building Safety Programme, following the Grenfell Tower tragedy.
A spokesperson for HSE confirmed that Baker’s retirement will not have an impact on the BSR’s future: “The processes and plans for the launch of the new regulator are all in place and underway.
“The Building Safety Regulator continues to work closely with government and industry, and we expect the regime to be fully operational by April 2024.”
Philip White, HSE’s head of regulation and a former head of its construction division, will take over Baker’s role on an interim basis.