The Building Safety Act 2022 has been implemented to reform building safety laws, whilst necessary even before the Grenfell Tower tragedy in 2017, certainly accelerated since. Dame Judith Hackitt recommended key reforms in her 2018 review of fire safety and building regulations, most of which made it into The Building Safety Act. It was July 2021 when The Building Safety Act was introduced to parliament; it officially came into effect on April 1st, 2023.
The Act starts new responsibilities for managing fire and building safety in high-rise residential buildings. This Act and other legislation and guidance aim to improve building safety and make people feel safer in their homes. The goal is to bring about changes in building design, construction, and management.
The Building Safety Act 2022 places significant emphasis on several important aspects:
Enhancing the safety and quality standards applicable to all buildings.
Ensuring the safety of higher-risk buildings, both during the construction phase and throughout their occupation.
Improving the competence and proficiency of individuals responsible for overseeing, managing, and executing works related to higher-risk buildings.
Determining clearer and more comprehensive standards and guidance for building safety.
Prioritising the well-being and interests of residents by introducing a new system that puts their needs under the spotlight.
So who does The Building Safety Act 2022 apply?
The Building Safety Act 2022 applies to those individuals and entities involved in the built environment industry. This includes building owners, managers, and those who play a responsible role in the design and construction process. It includes various stakeholders such as clients, designers, and contractors. The Act requires these players to comply strictly with the new building safety regulations.
Key takeaways of The Building Safety Act 2022
It applies to buildings over 18 meters high or with seven or more storeys and at least two residential units. It also includes care homes and hospitals that meet the same height threshold.
The Act aims to bring about a significant change in responsibility and culture within the building industry.
It establishes a more operational regulatory framework for the construction industry, with clearer standards and guidance.
The Act prioritises the well-being of residents by placing them at the center of a new building safety system. It clarifies the responsibilities for fire and building safety throughout the entire life cycle of higher-risk buildings.
Who is Responsible under The Building Safety Act 2022?
These new roles were introduced
The Building Safety Act 2022 introduces three important roles: the Building Safety Regulator (BSR), the Accountable Person, and the Principal Accountable Person. This Act represents a major change in building safety regulations and aims to enhance the safety and performance of buildings.
The Building Safety Regulator will be responsible for overseeing the safety and performance systems of all buildings. It will be granted enforcement powers to ensure compliance with regulations and take action against those who violate them.
The Building Safety Regulator will also be able to impose more stringent rules about the design, construction, and occupancy of high-risk properties.
The Building Safety Regulator will carry out three main functions.
Oversee the safety and performance systems of all buildings by monitoring the performance of building control bodies in both the public and private sectors.
Promote increased competence in the industry.
Lead the implementation of the new regulatory regime for higher-risk buildings.
Role and Responsibilities of the Accountable Person
Under the Building Safety Act 2022, the Accountable Person, who can be the building owner, freeholder, or Management Company, must assess and manage building safety risks. They must provide a 'Safety Case Report' demonstrating how they identify, mitigate, and manage these risks while ensuring residents' safety. There may be multiple Accountable Persons in complex ownership structures, with a Principal Accountable Person overseeing them.
It was not mandated that persons in charge of a building need to appoint a Building Safety Manager for task planning, management, and monitoring. However, the overall responsibilities of the Accountable Person remain unchanged - so in reality the legal risk of getting it wrong all falls to them.
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