By Jamela Collins, Senior Underwriter
(Estimated reading time: 3 minutes 6 seconds)
This Act has created a raft of reforms affecting residential properties and the construction sectors. The Act was passed to create and ensure that there are in place, safety measures for those occupying high risk buildings. In this article we answer two big questions and look at what might happen in the future.
This legislation was passed following the Grenfell Tower fire in 2017. The objective of the Act was to learn lessons from the fire and to remedy the systemic issues by strengthening the whole regulatory system for building safety.
What buildings are covered under the Act?
All existing buildings over 18 metres high or 7 storeys with two or more residential units. There are approximately 12,500 such buildings across England. These will include student accommodation and mixed-use buildings.
Under the Act, building owners will be required to manage safety risks with the emphasis on building structural and fire safety issues.
Building owners will need to show that they have measures in place to manage the building safety risks and must register their building with The Building Safety Regulator (BSR).
The BSR will be responsible for overseeing the building works and ensure that appropriate measures are being implemented to manage compliance. The BSR will be a division of the Health and Safety Executive.
What are the building safety risks?
Under Part 4 of the Act, these are defined as a spread of fire, a structural failure or any other matter prescribed in the regulations [which retain the right to add further definitions to the list].
Before occupation of a high-rise building by residents can take place, a Building Regulations Completion Certificate must be produced by the Accountable Person and the property must be on the BSR list.
Both new buildings will need to be registered and existing high-rise buildings must have been registered by 30 September 2023. In broad terms, the Accountable Person will be the person with legal estate in possession of the common parts/structure/exterior of the building.
Under the Act there should be a continuous ‘golden thread’ of Information about the building`s safety from its creation onwards – which must be stored in a digital format. The building safety risks must be managed throughout the building`s life cycle.
The Accountable Person will be required to submit a Building Safety Case Report to the BSR as part of the process for issuing a Building Assessment Certificate.
The report should summarise all the key components of the wider safety case and provide a justification for the safety measures in place with supporting documents. This should include how the building risks are being managed within the golden thread of information.
If the BSR is of the opinion that the Building Safety Case Report does not demonstrate the ongoing duty is being met, they will enter into dialogue with the Accountable Person on the further measures needed within their risk assessment and safety arrangements.
If an agreement cannot be reached, the BSR will be able to issue a compliance notice setting out the specific areas of concern and what actions need to be taken to ensure the duty is met. Continued failures to comply with the notice means that there is a breach of the statutory obligations and criminal and/or special measure proceedings may ensue.
It is still early days, but the Act is welcomed in respect of the protection it seeks to give to persons living in a high risk building.
We at Temple Legal Protection can assist with disputes relating to fire safety issues and construction claims as well as assisting with disputes involving contract disputes, changes in work scope and faulty design. We work collaboratively with law firms and provide a range of innovative litigation solutions to provide adverse costs cover and disbursement funding. To find out more please email email@example.com or call her 01483 514871.
Jamela qualified as a Solicitor specialising in litigation. She has extensive experience specialising in commercial, construction, inheritance and insolvency claims. She has also worked at RSA as a Team Leader.
Jamela has joined the commercial team as a Senior Underwriter in 2023 and is very much looking forward to using her litigation and insurance experience to support Temple’s customers with market leading products and services.
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