Guide to the New Building Safety Act UK

Guide to the New Building Safety Act UK

Building Safety Act Summary

With the Building Safety Act gaining royal assent and becoming Law in April 2022, are you and you organisation fully aware of the changes to how projects in scope are procured, commenced and achieve Building Regulations approval? This alongside the additional statutory duties being brought into place for Clients, Designers and Contractors alike?

At present Buildings in scope, as defined within the Act, are multiple occupancy residences over 18m in height or 7 storeys (whichever is reached first). However, it is anticipated that in due course the scope of the Act will be extended to cover other multiple occupancy premises such as hotels and care homes.

Contents:

Questions regarding the new Act?

Contact CHPK to see how we can assist you.

 

Building Safety Act Explained

The new regime places greater responsibility on those designing, constructing and refurbishing buildings in scope. The act creates new statutory duty holders with responsibilities for managing safety risks, ensuring compliance with the Building Regulations and demonstrating to a newly formed regulatory body (The Building Safety Regulator, overseen by the Health and Safety Executive) that the building is safe to construct and occupy.

The new regulations provide the Building Safety Regulator with powerful enforcement and sanctioning powers, as follows:

  • Not allow works to commence on site
  • Stop work on site
  • Stop occupation of the building at completion
  • Issuing of fines with unlimited ceilings and prosecution leading to imprisonment
  • It will be a criminal offence if a stop work or improvement notice on the scheme is breached

Questions regarding the new Act?

Contact CHPK to see how we can assist you.

Duty Holders Responsibilities

There are three key duty holders under the Building Safety Act and these roles are aligned with those under the CDM Regulations 2015. It is intended that in the majority of cases it will be the same persons/organisations fulfilling these roles under both sets of legislation.

The Duty Holders are:

  • The Client – the person or organisation for whom the works are being carried out.
  • The Principal Designer – as appointed by the Client under the CDM Regulations 2015.
  • The Principal Contractor – as appointed by the Client under the CDM Regulations 2015.

Introduction of “gateway” system

A Gateway system consisting of three approval stages will be introduced by October 2023; Gateway 1 is already in force and was enacted through changes to planning legislation. These hard stop/go gateways have the potential to delay or halt project progress at the following stages should the building regulator not be satisfied with the information submitted:

  • Gateway 1 – Planning
  • Gateway 2 – Pre Start on Site
  • Gateway 3 – Practical Completion/Occupation

A project will not be able to proceed on to the next stage without approval from the Building Safety Regulator.

With the new Building Safety Regulator’s powers to stop work, delay occupation and issue unlimited fines your project could be at risk of unacceptable delays and cost increases.

The Accountable Person and Building Safety Regulator

Accountable Person Responsibilities

Prior to occupation the client must appoint a competent accountable person to oversee the ongoing compliance of a building in scope with the Building Safety Act.

For most buildings in scope the identity of the Accountable Person will be clear. The Accountable Person will be the individual, partnership or corporate body with the legal right to receive funds through service charges or rent from leaseholders and tenants in the building. The Accountable Person will also be identifiable by their legal responsibility for the upkeep and maintenance of the structure and outside of the building, and the plant room and common parts within. In the case of complex building ownership models, there could be more than one Accountable Person. The Accountable Person will therefore in most cases be the freeholder or head lessee.

The new Building Safety Regulator’s powers to stop work, delay occupation and issue unlimited fines may cause unacceptable delays and add extra financial burden to your Clients project – contact CHPK to discuss how we can assist you ensuring that your projects are not affected by the incoming Act.

Building Safety Regulator

The Building Safety Regulator is a newly formed national organisation and is responsible for implementing and enforcing the new more stringent regulatory regime for buildings in scope.

At present the Building Safety Regulators scope will apply to all multi occupied residential buildings of 18m or more in height or 7 or more stories, whichever is reached first.

The Building Safety Regulator has been set up as part of the Health & Safety Executive. The HSE is an established Regulator with many years’ experience regulating safety issues across all sectors. This includes construction, and will utilise the skills, expertise and capacity of local authority building control and, where necessary, approved inspectors to undertake its primary objective of ensuring compliance with the Building Regulations.

The Building Safety Regulator will receive information from the project duty holders at three defined Gateways and a project will not be able to commence on site or be occupied on completion without the agreement of the Building Safety Regulator.

In addition to the Gateway process, the new Regulator will also have the power to:

  • Stop work on site
  • Stop occupation of the building at completion
  • Issuing of unlimited fines and prosecution for failures in compliance by the duty holders

Building Regulations Approval

For buildings in scope the Client is no longer able to select their own Building Control body, be it the Local Authority or an Approved Inspector. The Building Safety Regulator will act as the Building Control body for the project.

However, you should be aware that whoever is appointed as the Principal Designer for the project also has a duty to ensure the Building Regulations are complied with.

A project will not be able to proceed on to the next stage without approval from the Building Safety Regulator.

Review these gateways against the RIBA design stages

A project cannot start on site until the Regulator is satisfied with the content of the Building Safety Case.

Similarly, a building will not be able to be occupied unless the Regulator is satisfied with the content of the final Building Safety Case information.

Partial sign off at Gateways two and three will be available for example the piling and sub structure could be approved to allow these select items to commence on site without full approval of the plans, similarly partial occupation will be allowed at completion of certain dwellings or blocks providing an appropriate safety case is in place and signed off by the Regulator.

How Existing Buildings Will Be Affected

The Building Safety Act will also apply to existing buildings.

Existing buildings that are already occupied will also need to be registered with the Building Safety Regulator and existing buildings which are unoccupied at the introduction of the new regime will have to be registered by the point the building is occupied.

The Accountable person will need to will need to apply for Building Assurance Certificates in the same way as for new buildings. A transitional period will be put in place however the timescale of this is yet to be advised.

Buildings in scope undergoing Refurbishment works also fall within the parameters of the Building Safety Act with the Regulator acting as the Building Control Body for these works as well. The gateway system will not apply however there will be requirements for varying levels of information to be submitted dependant on the type of ‘Prescribed Refurbishment’ being undertaken.

How It Will Affect Other Roles

Client

Read about the new enhanced duties placed upon the Client by the forthcoming Building Safety Act.

Download Client PDF

Project Managers

Read about the new changes that will effect how you manage and procure projects in your role as Project Manager.

Download Project Manager PDF

Principal Designer

Read about the new enhanced duties placed upon the Principal Designer by the forthcoming Building Safety Act.

Download Principal Designer PDF

With reference to the specific role of the Principal Designer under the Building Safety Act, please click on the link below to open up CHPK’s ‘Principal Designer timeline’, which sets out the requirements placed upon the Principal Designer as aligned with the current RIBA plan of work (2020).

Download Principal Designer Timeline

The Act clearly states that Duty Holders can utilise the skills of consultancy services to help them with the discharging of their duties under the Act.

CHPK are ideally placed to assist your practice in complying with both the duties of the Principal Designer under the CDM Regulations 2015 and the Principal Designer role under the Building Safety Act. With over 20 years of experience in discharging duties under the CDM Regulations and specialist Building Regulations experience in-house, we can provide you with an all-in-one solution to meet your competency needs.

The new Building Safety Regulator’s powers to stop work, delay occupation and issue unlimited fines may cause unacceptable delays and add extra financial burden to your project – contact CHPK to discuss how we can assist you ensuring you are both competent to undertake the role and comply with your duties on all buildings currently in scope.