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The Building Safety Act was published in May 2022. Following the Grenfell Fire in 2017, Dame Judith Hackitt led a review and a recommendation report ‘Building a Safer Future'. The act implements the majority of Hackitt’s recommendations.

The Construction Industry’s Responsibilities are Changing

The Building Safety Act means accountable persons will need to demonstrate that they have effective, proportionate measures in place to manage building safety risks in the higher-risk buildings for which they are responsible. Enforcement is now by the Building Safety Regulator (BSR), set up and managed by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE).

A Gateway Approach

Set over 3 key gateways, Gateway 1 which impacts planning has arrived and has been in place since November 2022. This means if you are submitting a project through planning, you will be impacted from now. You will be required to give the details and name of the Accountable Person and provide the building risk assessment, planned fire arrangements and fire statement before submitting planning. The HSE have been very clear that this must be named person within the client organisation.

Gateway 2, which is expected in April 2023 means before construction begins the principal designer must submit to the Building Safety Regulator for approval.

Gateway 3 expected in November 2023 will probably prove to be the most impactful to clients and developers. At this point and before occupation or reoccupation occurs a declaration of compliance with Building Regulations must be provided, confirmation that the building safety information including handover file has been passed to the accountable person and the accountable person must register the building with the Building Safety Regulator including who is responsible for building management. Finally, the fire strategy and emergency arrangement plans must be submitted for approval.

No Building Safety Certificate, No Occupation

If the Building Safety Regulator deems that all of these requirements have been met then they will issue a Building Safety Certificate. A building cannot be occupied/re-occupied until this certificate has been received.

There appears to be a common misunderstanding within the property and construction industry at present that this only applies to residential buildings over 18m, but it is wider than that. It impacts any high risk building where people sleep, as defined in the act. So, think care homes, boarding schools, student accommodation, hostels. They will all be required to comply with the Building Safety Act. And it’s not just new buildings, all existing buildings in property owners' and managers' portfolios will need to be registered by 2023.

This is the biggest change to the construction and property industry in years and will gradually impact most parts of the property and construction industry over the next year, building up to the introduction of the final gateway in November 2023.

Clients, building and property managers need to start implementing and preparing for the introduction of the act now starting with registering their buildings with the Building Safety Regulator from April 2023.