The Building Safety Act 2022 – What We Know So Far

March 7, 2023

The Building Safety Act 2022 - What We Know So Far

Overview of The Building Safety Act

The Act has 6 Parts, and contains provisions intended to secure the safety of people in or about buildings and to improve the standard of buildings.

Part 2 contains provision about the building safety regulator and its functions in relation to buildings in England.

Part 3 amends the Building Act 1984.

Amendments made by Part 3

(a) provide that the regulator is the building control authority in relation to higher-risk buildings in England, and
(b) require the regulator (for England) and the Welsh Ministers (for Wales) to establish and maintain registers of building control approvers and building inspectors.

Part 4 is about occupied higher-risk buildings in England and imposes duties on accountable persons.

Part 5 contains further provisions, including

(a) provisions about remediation and redress;
(b) provision requiring a new homes ombudsman scheme to be established;
(c) powers to make provision about construction products;
(d) further provision about fire safety;
(e) provision about the regulation of architects;
(f) provision about housing complaints.

Part 6 contains general provisions.

In order for the Act to be implemented, secondary legislation, predominantly presented in the form of Regulations, must be produced. Currently, consultations are taking place so that the secondary legislation can be made available. Until the secondary legislation is provided, the industry must work from the consultancy information provided and that is what this document is based upon. The Act is in place and is in force, but we won’t know for definite how to comply with elements of the Act not yet supported by Regulations to provide some initial guidance.

Harwood – What We Know So Far

The Building Safety Act introduced or will introduce the following (secondary legislation is still to come):

1. The Building Safety Regulator (BSR) – under the Health and Safety Executive have been formed as enabled under the Act.

2. Higher Risk Buildings – “higher-risk buildings are defined as buildings which are at least 18 metres in height, or have at least 7 storeys, and have at least two residential units”.

3. Registered Building Control Inspectors (RBCI) – The individuals (local authority and private sector) responsible to ensure regulatory compliance (Building Regulations). The individuals must register for certification under one of 4 classes depending on capability.

4. Registered Building Control Approver (RBCA) – The organisations that RBCIs will work for or with (private sector). Transitional arrangement consultations are available.

Note: Both Former Approved Inspectors as RBCAs and the Local Authority Building Control will need to use RBCIs

5. A new more stringent Building Control regime for Higher Risk Buildings – There are Gateways (1 to 3) for compliance. Gateway 1 is already in operation as it supports the planning stage for a project; Gateway 2 is for commencement on site and Gateway 3 is for completion/handover into use. Consultation documents have been made available for stages 2 and 3.

6. The oversight of all Building Regulations Control by the BSR. The BSR will have oversight of all Building Regulations Control via the RBCIs and RBCAs. Some consultation information is available.

7. New duty holders – Similar, by name, to those we are already familiar with under CDM but under this Act, duties relate to Building Regulations Control and Approval so not the same duties. The new duty holders are:

(a) Client – A person or organisation responsible for the building compliance through design, construction and handover into use to the Accountable Person or Principal Accountable Person.

(b) Principal Designer – A person or organisation, (registered) to ensure design meets the requirements for Building Regulations compliance.

(c) Principal Contractor – A person or organisation to ensure the building is built in compliance with the Building Regulations.

(d) Accountable Person or Principal Accountable Person – The person, an individual, with ultimate responsibility for a building in use.

8. Golden Thread of Information – A set of requirements for managing digital critical information from design through construction and on to completion and handover into use.

9. Registration of High-Risk Buildings – A register for all existing building stock that meets the criteria for High Risk Buildings. Duty to register falls to the Accountable Person or, Principal Accountable Person.

10. Building Safety Case – Criteria for how the critical information for an existing High-Risk Building must be presented in order to Register a relevant building.

11. Transitional Period – For transitional arrangements to apply to an individual building (High-Risk Building), developers would need to both:

(a) Submit an initial notice or deposit full plans by the day the new regime comes into force.
(b) Commence work in line with the proposed new definition of commencement on the individual building within six months from the day the new regime comes into force.

  1. Commencement of Work on Site – for the purpose of the transitional period, see attachment.

The Implementation Plan – Timings

The Transition Plan was originally presented as “Building Safety Bill & Transition”, see attached. This is still the official timeline presented. The Building Safety Act received Royal Assent on 28 April 2022. All timelines therefore are relevant to that date.

The + 12 Months is – Apr 2023
The + 18 Months is – Oct 2023
Transitional period – Therefore ends Apr 2024
The new Building Regulations Control Regime begins Apr 2024

A summary for the implementation plan

April 2022 – Act Achieved Royal Assent
April 2022 – to now, the industry is preparing to implement the changes based on information provided via consultations
April 2023 – 12-month expectation deadlines including, additional powers for the registration of construction products.
April 2023 – October 2023 – Release of Regulations and Guidance for compliance
April 2023 – Register for existing HRBs opens
October 2023 – Existing HRBs must be on the Register – Accountable Persons face fines if not
October 2023 – Registers for RBCI and RBCA open
April 2024 – The new Building Control Regime comes into force with mandatory registration of RBCIs and RBCAs from then on
April 2024 – End of Transitional Period for existing HRBs under Initial Notices with Approved Inspectors that have made the transition to RBCA and the project has met the “commencement” criteria.
April 2024 – The BSR become the only Building Control body for HRBs

Note: All developers currently planning and designing buildings that will meet the criteria for High-Risk Buildings must consider the implications for the April 2024 deadline for submission of an Initial Notice and Commencement on Site.

The future process for Building Regulations Control applications, for High-Risk Buildings, will be processed to the Regulator via the new duty-holder roles under the Act. The Client duty holder, although ultimately responsible, will have to appoint the new type of Principal Designer to assist them from Gateway 1 through to completion and handover. Before Gateway 2, the Client will have to also appoint a new kind of Principal Contractor for construction through to completion and handover. These new roles will need to be carried out by competent persons/organisations with the necessary capability.

The BSR are expecting that the PD and PC service providers for CDM can also discharge the new duties under the Act, but this might not always be the case. The different duties require different skills, knowledge and experience and/or organisational capability.

Accountable Persons (AP) or Principal Accountable Persons (PAP) have very specific and onerous duties to operate buildings that meet the criteria for High-Risk Buildings (HRBs). For existing buildings, they will need the assistance of industry professionals to help them ensure their buildings are safe (this may require remedial work), to provide the necessary information required for registration, and to produce the Safety Case Report (SCR) to present that information for registration. They will also need assistance from competent people to maintain the operation effectiveness of their registered buildings. For new builds managed under the new regime for Building Regulations Control once in force, they will also need assistance from competent persons to maintain the operational safety of the building which will be registered on completion/handover into use.

What is Harwood doing for our Clients?

Harwood are actively observing and/or participating in the consultations. Therefore, we are confident to provide advice on any aspect of the Building Safety Act and its impact on clients and construction projects in line with current information made available to the industry.

For Building Regulations Control

Our senior management team, led by Adam Dodd, are reviewing any changes under consultation against current operational standards to ensure gap analysis identifies any areas for improvement. Harwood see this as a straightforward transition for doing the business as we have always done it, providing technical and quality services to our clients. Additionally, our management systems will be adjusted, if required, to meet any new requirements for registering Harwood as a Registered Building Control Approver (RBCA).

Our Board and senior management have put protocols in place to ensure the business can implement the expected changes for Building Regulations Control. This means ensuring the competence of all our Building Control Surveyors and Project Managers is in line with the criteria being set by the BSR. Our surveyors will all be able to register, in due course, in line with the surveyor class relevant to their capability. Additionally, we are making sure our surveyors attend any training and development required to implement any changes under the legislation. We will have a fully operational team able to deliver before the full implementation of the Act.

Our management systems and certification to provide Approved Inspector Regulatory Control will continue on all projects where that remains applicable.

For the New Duty Holder Roles Under The Building Safety Act

Via Harwood Construction Consultancy Services Ltd (HCCSL), led by Danny Coomber, we will ensure our competence and capability is in place to deliver the duty holder service of Principal Designer for Building Regulations or Advisor to Clients and Principal Contractors for Building Regulations Control under the Act. This will be implemented alongside our existing CDM services.

We are also able to provide general and specific training for the Principal Designer and the duties they will need to discharge under the Building Safety Act along with or separate to our current accredited CDM Principal Designer training courses.

Our service provision under the Building Safety Act also includes for competent persons to assist Accountable Persons and/or Principal Accountable Persons to discharge their duties for existing High-Risk Buildings that will need to be registered, and the new builds in due course. This service includes assistance with the information required for registration of existing buildings and the production of the Building Safety Case to deliver that information.

HCCSL can also provide Building Regulations Control advice and guidance for compliance under the new Building Regulations Control regime.

1.Definition of Commencement of Work