The Building Safety Act - Deadline 30th September
We have just over one month to go before the 30th of September 2023 deadline, for those responsible for the safety of high-rise residential buildings, to register on GOV.UK to comply with the new Building Safety Act. This legislation is the largest regulatory reform in the UK’s build environment industry since the Building Act 1984.
This new act, which received Royal Assent on 28th April 2022, is set out following Dame Judith Hackitt’s independent review of Building Regulations and Fire Safety. This was, of course, in response to the tragic Grenfell Tower fire on 14th June 2017, in which seventy-two people died and more than seventy were injured. It was the deadliest structural fire in the UK since the 1988 Piper Alpha Oil Platform disaster and the worst UK Residential fire since World War II.
This act brings reforms to give residents and homeowners more rights, powers, and protections so homes across the country are safer. It will also protect leaseholders, as building owners will not be able to pass these costs to them, as they have done historically.
It is compulsory for the principal accountable person for a building to register by the deadline at the end of September. This applies to high rise residential structures in scope:
- At least 7 floors or is at least 18 meters in height.
- At least 2 residential units
Two or more structures can be classed as a single building, if they are connected by either a walkway, lobby or basement or has an internal wall containing normal use doors.
The application will request the height of the building, number of floors, the number of residential units, the address and the year originally built.
The act is largely aimed at England and Wales with some sections applying to Scotland and Northern Ireland. There are estimated to be 12,500 of these buildings in the UK and all of these are required to be registered by the deadline. Those who don’t will face prosecution.
The act will cover all stages of the building lifecycle from initial planning stages to design and construction and will continue to post completion maintenance. This act applies to all parties involved including developers, architects, and landlords.
The act creates three new bodies to oversee the new regime:
The Building Safety Regulator (BSR) will oversee the safety and performance of all buildings. It will promote competence and organisational capability for building control, professionals, and tradespeople.
The National Construction Products Regulator (NRCP) will oversee a more effective construction products regulatory regime and lead and organise market surveillance and enforcement in this sector across the UK.
The New Homes Ombudsman Scheme will allow owners of new build homes to escalate complaints. Secondary legislation will require developers to become and remain members and will set out the enforcement framework and sanctions for breaching requirements. There may also be a developer’s code of practice.
One of the new responsibilities under this act is to produce a safety case and subsequent safety report.
The safety case is all the information you use to manage fire spread and the structural safety of the building. Some of the information will show how you are preventing fire spread and structural failure in the building and limiting the consequences.
The safety report will summarise the safety case and will identify the buildings major fire and structural hazards and will demonstrate how you are managing the risks as far as you can.
The act implementation on 1st October 2023 is the first step in a much larger process of building safety reform and significant secondary legislation is coming, so it is important if you are the owner or developer of a building in scope, you remain up to date with the duties and obligations imposed to avoid liability and penalty for non-compliance.
Part of these changes will likely bring changes from the latent defect and structural warranty insurance industry, including longer insurance terms for properties in scope (15 years), using a broker will ensure these changes are communicated as they are released to market. At Vista we are superbly placed to understand and explain these changes as they happen. We can also advise on all aspects of construction insurance risks which can extend to the most complex and specialist.
Please do not hesitate to contact the team at Vista Insurance today.
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