Building Safety Act: What you need to know

Alex Minnett of CHAS
Alex Minnett of CHAS

From 1st October 2023 a number of new regulations came into force under the Building Safety Act 2022, and they don’t only affect high-risk buildings. Alex Minett, Head of Global New Markets at CHAS highlights some of the key changes.

The Building Regulations etc. (Amendment) (England) Regulations 2023 covers a series of new reforms. However, while these reforms might seem more heavily weighted towards ensuring the safety of higher-risk buildings (HRBs), the new regime introduces

fresh terminology, roles, responsibilities and other criteria that are impor- tant to understand for all projects that fall under building regulations.

Roles and responsibilities of the dutyholder

One of the most important changes is the dutyholder regime detailed under part 2a of the Building Regulations. It is designed to regulate and hold to account those who are responsible for planning and executing the construction of new buildings and the renovation of existing ones.

Under the regulations, the dutyholder is defined as the client (the person who is responsible for commissioning the building work), the principal designer and the principal contractor. Where there is more than one designer or contractor on a project, there must be an agreement and declaration in writing as to which holds the role of ‘principal’.

Higher Risk Buildings (HRBs) and Building Control

In addition to the above, an extra layer of legislation applies to the construction and renovation of higher-risk buildings (HRBs), which are currently defined as:

  • Buildings at least 18 metres in height or with at least seven storeys; and
  • contains at least two residential units.

Furthermore, a series of ‘gateways’ have been introduced for HRB construc- tion to strengthen regulatory oversight. Before any building work on an HRB commences, a building control approval application must be made to the overall authority, in this case, the BSR. Known as Gateway 2, key documen- tation must be provided to support the application, including a competency declaration and building regulations compliance statement. Once approved, any major changes to the design will require a change control notice made to the BSR. For further information on the new gateways and rules, refer to the HSE’s guide Building Control: An overview of the new regime.

How to prepare

While these are some of the more headline changes to the regulations, there is more to absorb ahead of 1st October. For example, the provision of information around fire safety and proposals on scheduling and timelines. The onus is therefore on all those involved to ensure they read and under- stand how the legislation might affect them.

For further detail visit: www.hse.gov.uk/building-safety/assets/docs/ regime-overview.pdf

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