News • 08/09/2023 • 5-min read
Building Safety Act: August ’23 Update
On April 28th 2022, the Building Safety Act, a groundbreaking piece of legislation, received Royal Assent, ushering in significant reforms that empower residents and homeowners while increasing their rights and protections.
The Building Safety (Registration of Higher-Risk Buildings and Review of Decisions) (England) Regulations 2023 were laid before Parliament on the 14th of March, 2023 and came into force on the 6th of April, 2023.
The legislation delivers far-reaching protections to qualifying leaseholders from the costs associated with the repair of historical building safety defects. It also introduces a robust toolkit of measures designed to hold those responsible for such defects accountable.
It overhauls existing regulations, creating lasting change whilst redefining how residential buildings should be constructed, maintained and safeguarded. The Act creates three new bodies to provide effective oversight of the new regime: the Building Safety Regulator, the National Regulator of Construction Products and the New Homes Ombudsman.
The Building Safety Regulator (BSR) will assume responsibility for monitoring the safety and performance of buildings in scope with an emphasis on high-rise structures. It will promote competence and organisational capability within the sector, which will also include building control professionals and tradespeople.
What the Act means for building owners?
The Building Safety Act identifies new dutyholders – known as ‘Accountable Persons’ (APs) – for residential high-rise buildings (HRBs). This will be the organisation or person who owns or is responsible for a building. It may also be an organisation or person who is responsible for maintaining the common parts of a building, for example corridors or lobbies. If a building has more than one AP, the AP responsible for the structure and exterior of the building will be the Principal Accountable Person (PAP). When buildings have a single AP, that entity or person is the PAP.
The Principle Accountable Person and Accountable person(s) (AP) will need to demonstrate effectiveness and proportionately in their safety risk management measures in higher-risk buildings under their purview. It also introduces new statutes, making it evident that building owners and landlords will be required to contribute to the expenses associated with repairing their respective properties.
The Accountable Person(s) will be required to take all reasonable steps to:
- Prevent the occurrence of a building safety risk, with such risk defined as the ‘spread of fire and/or structural failure
- Mitigate the severity of an incident if it does occur
The Principle Accountable Person must perform all the required steps of an AP in addition to the following:
- register existing building(s) with the Building Safety Regulator (BSR) by the 30th of September, 2023
- register all new buildings before occupation
prepare a safety case report for the building
- Prevent the occurrence of a building safety risk, with such risk defined as the ‘spread of fire and/or structural failure’
- Mitigate the severity of an incident if it does occur
This should show that APs have:
- assessed all building safety risks
- taken all reasonable steps to control them
- give the safety case report to BSR on request – BSR will examine it during the building assessment
- apply for a building assessment certificate when directed by BSR
All occupied buildings must be registered by 30th September 2023, it is an offence if a building is occupied but not registered after this date. Those found in violation may face criminal charges.
Detailed, accurate information about the building will be critical when registering and when preparing the safety case report.
What buildings are in scope of the Building Safety Act?
The Building Safety Act applies to buildings falling within the category of higher-risk, which are defined as UK buildings (including student accommodation) meeting the following criteria:
- A minimum height of at least 18 meters or comprising seven or more storeys.
- Containing a minimum of two residential units.
The Higher-Risk Buildings (Descriptions and Supplementary Provisions) Regulations 2023 provide further clarification and confirmation that a higher-risk building does not:
- include a building comprised entirely of a secure residential unit, a hotel, military barracks
- a building that contains living accommodation provided by the Ministry of Defence or the forces
Timescales & registration requirements
The timeline below sets out the key dates and actions required for registration:
- As soon as possible:
- Identify Higher-Risk Buildings in occupation
- Identify the Principle Accountable Person
- Identify Accountable Person(s)
- PAP arranges for key building information to be collated
- PAP applies to register building
- PAP submits Key Building Information (within 28 days of application)
- 30th September 2023 – Registration deadline for existing occupied buildings.
How is registration completed?
You must register your high-rise building(s) that residents occupy or could occupy by the 30th of September, 2023. It is an offence to allow residents to occupy an unregistered building after this date.
New buildings completed after 1st October 2023 must have a relevant completion certificate or final notice. They must be registered before residents can occupy them.
You can apply to register a high-rise residential building online. You will need:
- a credit or debit card to pay the £251 registration fee per building
- the building’s name, address and postcode
- a building summary, including height in metres, number of floors and residential units, and year of completion
- the names and contact details of the principal accountable person and accountable persons
- Structure and fire safety information
MAPP are here to support our clients during this shift in the residential market.
The Surveyor on your MAPP-managed in-scope property will contact the client of the building and advise them of the new regulations.
MAPP will clarify with the client the responsibility each party will hold and who will, in the first instance, register the building and then after produce the building safety case for the building.
If the client, as the Principal Accountable Person, would like to instruct MAPP to register the property as an AP, the Surveyor must send the client a letter of authorisation – BSA registration of high-rise buildings to sign.
If the client is registering the building, the client must provide written confirmation to the Surveyor that the building has been registered.
Following registration the client can liaise with the Building Surveyor to potentially instruct the MAPP Building Consultancy team to form a building safety case for the building.