Real Estate Tip of the Month - Building Safety Act 2022 – What now?

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Real Estate Tip of the Month - Building Safety Act 2022 – What now?

Published 20 September 2022

The Building Safety Act 2022 (Act) became law on 28 April 2022. You can read the detail of the legislation in our recent article here.

We have picked out some of the key provisions of the Act and some thoughts on what you could be doing now in order to comply with the legislation.

1. Golden thread of information

Project teams need to be aware of the requirement to maintain a “golden thread” of information about their buildings which is kept up to date and in an accessible manner. As set out in the link, this is required for all "higher risk" buildings, whether they are existing or yet to be built.

The HSE has provided a list of examples of information which will be required about a higher risk building - https://www.hse.gov.uk/building-safety/how-to-prepare.htm  

This information will be required to compile the Safety Case Report and potentially used in future for claims and complaints and will likely be required by a buyer as part of the DD pack on disposal along with confirmations around compliance.  It will also be key information to be used in managing residential buildings and parts of it may be requested by residents to inform them about the place where they live or by contractors coming to carry out works in the premises.  Therefore, it is vital the information is maintained and appropriate training should be given to those responsible for keeping the information in compliance with the obligations imposed under the Act.  Property owners and developers should review internal processes and consider what systems will be required and could be used for the collation and storage of this information in a digital format. If necessary, invest now in systems and implement processes which will aid with compliance.   

2. Accountable Persons

Amongst other duties, there will be obligations on the “principal accountable person” (PAP) of a higher risk building to:

  • register existing buildings with the BSR, between April 2023 and October 2023;
  • register all new buildings before occupation; and
  • prepare the Safety Case Report with detailed accurate information about the building.

All occupied higher risk buildings must be registered by October 2023, it is a criminal offence if such a building is occupied but not registered after this date.  Please see the full article for details of further sanctions under the Act.

The responsibilities of the PAP are ongoing and also encompass safety risk assessment and resident engagement amongst other obligations.

Property owners and developers should ensure they have identified the PAP, who is mindful of the duties and responsibilities of the role, well ahead of the cut-off date and provide appropriate training to ensure that all aspects of the role are carried out in compliance with the Act.  

3. Other Dutyholders under the Act

Developers will need to ensure that all appointed dutyholders are properly skilled and trained for these roles and fully aware of their obligations.   As set out in our article, developers should ensure that the scope of service for their Principal Designer and Principal Contractor cover the requirements of both the CDM Regulations 2015 and the Act.    Project teams should start to consider the cost and programming implications of the requirements for these additional roles and duties and whether there any PI insurance issues need to be addressed.

4. Gateways

As alluded to in our article, where the BSR is not satisfied with the information which has been provided at each step, these gateways have the potential to delay or halt project progress.   Developers should ensure they factor the potential for delays into any linked finance or development agreements, including any agreements for lease.

5. Keep up to Date

It is crucial for those involved in this sector to be aware of and understand their duties and obligations under the Act and to act now to ensure they are compliant, in order to avoid the sanctions for breach. A lot of the detail is to be set out in secondary legislation and the Government has issued a timetable for the implementation of further regulations over the course of the next 12 months.  Those in the industry should be keeping an eye on Government guidance as and when it is issued.

There are a number of consultations ongoing currently and our Regulatory team is running a webinar on one – relating to the design and construction of higher risk buildings – on 21 September.  Please click here for further information and to register.

If you do need any further advice then please get in touch with one of our Real Estate or Regulatory team.

Authors

Stephanie Bagshaw

Stephanie Bagshaw

Leeds

+44 (0) 113 251 4879

Rhian Greaves

Rhian Greaves

Manchester

+44 (0) 161 934 3249

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