Building Safety Act becomes law

With the passing of the Building Safety Act, the government is now preparing to introduce the regulatory framework to enforce the new Building Safety laws in 2023.

The laws are yet to be completely finalised; however, they’re mostly designed to protect those who live in high-rise buildings (above 18 metres) and place new duties on the people who are responsible for the safety within these buildings.

There are a number of areas of focus that the government has introduced, including:

Building Safety Regulator (BSR)

Based within the Health & Safety Executive (HSE), the BSR will be the regulator for high-rise buildings in England. High-rise buildings are classified as:

  • Buildings with seven or more storeys or
  • Buildings which are 18 metres or above in height

The definition includes buildings which are purely residential and buildings which are mixed-use.

The BSR will also regulate hospitals and care settings that meet the height condition and will work alongside local authorities, Fire and Rescue services, building control bodies and will advise central government.

Gateways

There are now a number of contact points within the BSR and the HSE throughout the process of any new build or significant refurbishment – from planning to completion.

These are referred to as ‘gateways’ and are intended to make sure that duty holders are meeting regulations and considering building safety at each stage, including a final inspection at completion.

The HSE will now be required to be consulted at the planning stage of each build.

Golden thread

Those who are responsible for the safety of buildings will be required to retain a ‘golden thread’ of information to help identify, understand, manage, and mitigate risks concerning the safety of the building throughout its life.

Accountable person

Every residential, high-rise building will have an ‘accountable person’ who is responsible for managing the safety of the building by preventing and reducing fire spread, structural failures and limiting any consequences on those living in and near the building.

Resident information

Once these regulations are enforced, residents within applicable buildings will have access to information concerning fire safety within their premises and will be involved in the management of these risks. There will also be routes to challenge building owners concerning issues of fire safety and residents may also escalate their concerns directly to the BSR.

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