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Publish date

31 March 2023

The “Delivery Year” for the Building Safety Act! Are you ready for registration?

As a direct impact of the Grenfell Tower disaster, which killed 72 people, the Building Safety Act came into force on 28 June 2022 with a phased introduction of the Act’s provisions. The Act is expected to be fully implemented by November 2023 – are you ready?

Developers and property owners should consider two key provisions from April 2023 –

  1. New buildings classified as higher risk buildings will need to follow all three gateways that form the approval process during design and construction. It is anticipated all gateways will be in force by October 2023
  2. Existing occupied higher risk buildings will need to registered within a six month period between April – October 2023.

Therefore, all those involved with higher risk buildings need to understand the requirements of the new regulatory regime.

What is a higher risk building?

Higher risk buildings include buildings that are over 18 meters high or seven storeys or more, which contain at least two residential units. The design, refurbishment and construction requirements also apply to care homes and hospitals meeting the same height threshold.

What is the Building Safety Act? – an overview.

Key points

  • The Act makes reforms to give residents and homeowners more rights, power and protections to make homes across the country safer
  • The Act delivers protections for qualifying leaseholders from the costs associated with remediating historical building safety defects, and measures that will allow those responsible for building safety defects to be held accountable
  • It overhauls existing regulations and makes clear how residential buildings should be constructed, maintained and made safe
  • The Act creates three new bodies to provide an effective oversight of the new regime: the Building Safety Regulator, the National Regulator of Construction Products and the New Homes Ombudsman
  • These changes will mean owners can manage their buildings well and the home-building industry has a clear framework to deliver better, high quality homes
  • The most significant change is the establishment of two new roles, the Building Safety Regulator and the Accountable Person.

Role 1 – The Building Safety Regulator

The Building Safety Regulator has 3 main functions:

  1. To oversee the safety and standards of all buildings
  2. To help and encourage the building industry and building control professionals to improve their competence
  3. To lead the implementation of the new regulatory framework for high-risk buildings.

Role 2 – The Accountable Person

This person will be the person who owns or has responsibility for the building or responsible for maintaining the common parts.

The Accountable Person will have a duty to take all reasonable steps to:

  • Prevent a building safety risk happening with a building safety risk defined as “spread of fire and/or structural failure”
  • Reduce the seriousness of an incident if one happens.

If a building has more than one Accountable Person, the Accountable Person responsible for the structure of the building will be known as the Principal Accountable Person. Other duties that the Principal Accountable Persons have include:

  • Registering existing buildings with the Building Safety Regulator
  • Registering all new buildings before occupation.

So as a developer or property owner what do you need to do now in April 2023?

There are two key steps you may need to take:

New buildings classified as higher risk buildings will may need to follow a gateway approval process during design and construction
A new gateway system has been introduced to ensure that safety is ingrained from the very beginning to the end of the project.

There are three Gateway points each with their own rules and regulations for new higher risk buildings which must be complied with. Following April 2023 and by October 2023 it is anticipated that all 3 gateway points will be in force and, subject to transitional provisions, will need to be followed in relation to higher risk buildings.

Gateway 1 – Introduced via existing planning legislation on 1 August 2021 in relation to higher risk buildings. A fire statement must be submitted with the planning application to show you are thinking of the fire safety at the development.

Gateway 2 – Approval must be obtained from the Building Safety Regulator prior to commencement of construction. Anticipated to be in to be brought into force sometime between April 2023 and October 2023.

Gateway 3 – A completion certificate will be required from the Building Safety Regulator prior to registration and occupation. Anticipated to brought into force sometime between April 2023 and October 2023.

If you are a developer you will need to ensure that there are clearly identified people who are responsible for, and conscious of, the safety of the finished development. These people will become duty holders and will include you.

Information and documentation about fire safety risks and other aspects of safety must be gathered and kept for every stage, creating a thread of information about the development and the building’s life-cycle. This is known as the “Golden Thread”. Those who do not meet their obligations may face criminal charges.

Existing occupied higher risk buildings may need to registered within a six month period between April – October 2023

It is anticipated that all existing higher risk buildings may need to be registered with the Building Safety Regulator from April 2023. There is a 6 month window for registering these buildings.

Preparing to register your building

Before registering your higher risk building, you will need to think about the following:

  • The building name, address and postcode
  • The buildings height, in meters
  • The number of floors in the building
  • Who is the principal accountable person?
  • Who are the accountable persons?
  • Which parts of the building they are responsible for?
  • The year the building was completed (i.e. fully constructed)
  • For new builds, confirmation of your completion certificate.

The future – beyond October 2023

It is anticipated that, the deadline for already occupied higher risk buildings will have passed and from then all new buildings must be registered with the Building Safety Regulator.

Developers must at this point also apply to the Building Safety Regulator for building control approval before commencing work on any higher risk building.

For more information click here.

If you have any queries in relation to how the Building Safety Act affects you now or in the future please contact one of the expert development team

Heathervale House reception

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