08 Jan, 2024


The Building Safety Act 2022 has significantly influenced the landscape of building regulations, particularly with the introduction of secondary legislation effective from October 1, 2023. Originating from the recommendations following the Grenfell Tower fire by Dame Judith Hackitt in 2018, these new regulations aim to establish clear accountability and enhance the overall safety of buildings.

Regulation of Building Control:

The responsibility for regulating the building control profession now lies with the Health & Safety Executive, acting as the Building Safety Regulator (BSR). Our Building Control Authority will deliver these regulatory functions through a multi-disciplinary team, including registered building inspectors and other specialists. This team's involvement spans from the application process to construction and any change control procedures, culminating in the issuance of a completion certificate. Under the new regulations in England, the BSR assumes authority for all higher-risk buildings.

Higher-Risk Building (HRB) Definition:

The Act designates a building as higher-risk if it meets specific criteria, such as being at least 18m in height or having at least seven storeys with two or more residential units. Hospitals and care homes meeting these thresholds fall under the HRB definition for design and construction purposes, excluding those in occupation. Notably, hotels and hostels providing overnight accommodation are exempt, while serviced apartments and short-term lets fall under the higher-risk regime if they meet the height/storey criteria.

Compliance Responsibilities:

The property owner holds primary responsibility for planning, managing, and monitoring a project's compliance with building regulations. The new dutyholders, including the Client, Principal Designer, and Principal Contractor, are defined under the Act and apply to all building work.

Role of Accountable Person (AP):

The AP is a pivotal role responsible for the repair and maintenance of the building's structure, external fabric, and common parts. If multiple APs exist, the Principal Accountable Person (PAP) oversees structure and external fabric maintenance. APs are tasked with managing and mitigating fire spread or structural failure risks, documented through a Safety Case. While APs can delegate duties, they remain ultimately accountable. Distinct from Responsible Persons under RRFSO, coordination and information sharing are crucial in buildings where roles differ.

Registration and Safety Case Requirements:

From October 1, 2023, it is an offence for an occupied HRB not to be registered with the BSR. The Principal Accountable Person bears the responsibility for registration and notification of changes. The AP must prepare a Safety Case Report at building occupancy or upon assuming the AP role. This report encompasses details of accountable persons, building descriptions, risk assessments, risk management summaries, emergency strategies, and details of any ongoing works. The BSR must be notified of Safety Case Report preparation or revisions.

Construction Regulations and Transitional Arrangements:

Transitional arrangements are in place for ongoing projects, with specific criteria for higher-risk buildings requiring building control approval by October 1, 2023, and sufficient progress by April 6, 2024. Documentation and confirmation by a Registered Building Inspector are recommended for projects qualifying for transitional arrangements. Regardless of regime applicability, all high-rise residential buildings must register with the BSR before occupation.