New legislation is impacting on the owners and managers of high rise residential buildings (HRBs). It is part of The Building Safety Act 2022, which represents a big change for the UK building safety regulations. Features include a deadline for registering higher-risk buildings, and the need for duty holders to understand new roles and statutory responsibilities linked to their high rise residential buildings.
Those looking after the safety of occupied HRBs (duty holders) have new roles and statutory responsibilities linked to their high rise residential buildings. They need to take action if they are to meet their obligations and avoid penalties and possible criminal charges.
Jon Newall, CEO at Prosura comments on the new roles and statutory responsibilities linked to high rise residential buildings:
“The Building Safety Act is considered to be ground-breaking; it is being seen as an overhaul and a way to create lasting change, which is welcomed.
“However, we need to acknowledge that these are ambitious plans and legalities will require a new way of working. People will also need to adopt new and additional responsibilities. Understanding and working towards this new way will therefore take time.
“As commercial property insurance brokers, we work hard to understand all risks. Here at Prosura we are working closely with leaseholders, landlords and insurers so that we can help to provide the right protection as legislation is implemented and navigated.”
Keeping up to date on these changes is crucial. As deadlines are looming, and new roles and statutory responsibilities for high rise duty holders are already coming into play, we reflect on the importance and urgency of understanding and acting. Read on for background on the changes and plans according to the HSE and the BSR.
There’s certainly a great deal to consider and do when it comes to understanding the new roles and statutory responsibilities linked to high rise residential buildings. Here’s a quick guide to the next steps that may help your journey to compliance.
- Get to know and understand the Act and the regulator. Who are they? What do they expect? When are the deadlines? Understanding this information is crucial. Accessing the tools and guides that they have in place to support leaseholders and duty holders will also help. You can do this by signing up for BSR bulletins.
- Know your HRB. Is your high rise residential building within the regulator’s criteria for registration? If so, take action now.
- Register your building. The first deadline from the BSR is the registration of occupied HRBs that meet the criteria. The Principal Accountable Person (PAP) for each building, or someone authorised by them, must complete the application by 30 September 2023.
- Understand the new roles and statutory responsibilities for high rise duty holders (accountable persons). Who will carry out these roles and what are their legal duties? Specifically, who is the Accountable Person and Principle Accountable Person? Duty holders that do not meet their obligations may face criminal charges and are accountable for duties being carried out.
- Learning about safety cases and safety case reports for high-rise residential buildings is also important. The safety case is all the information you use to manage the risk of fire spread and structural safety. Whereas the safety case report identifies your building’s fire and structural hazards. It also shows how you are managing risks as far as you can.
- Put a light on the golden thread – know what information needs to be stored about your building. This is not a one-time requirement. It also varies based on what stage your building is at in its life. Regardless, information must be accurate, up-to-date, accessible, secure and kept digitally.
- HSE advise you to get curious about your higher rise higher-risk residential building. Know how your HRB was built and if it has changed since this time. Also, what measures are in place to control risks? The information you are likely to need is vast, find out more here.
- Engagement with residents is imperative. Plan how you will reach them and how they will reach you. You can also consider what you will share about your building and when?
- Establish your systems and processes – from complaints procedures to systems for reporting incidents. Not only is this mandatory, but it will provide peace of mind and ensure quick and efficient action.
- Get help in good time. Consider insurance brokers such as Prosura who have significant experience in commercial property insurance. Other experts include legal teams and health and safety advisers. Let the professionals provide peace of mind.
The Building Safety Act 2022
The reform is part of The Building Safety Act 2022. It intends to change the way residential buildings are constructed and maintained while protecting the rights of leaseholders.
The Act follows the 2017 Grenfell Tower disaster and recommendations from an independent review carried out by Dame Judith Hackitt.
The Building Safety Regulator (BSR)
Integral to the Act is the BSR, an independent body that is part of the Health and Safety Executive (HSE). Its role is to raise building safety and performance standards. It will also oversee a new stringent regime for high rise residential buildings in England.
High-rise residential buildings (HRBs)
BSR will be the regulator for HRBs in England that are seven or more storeys, or 18 metres or higher, containing either:
- at least two residential units
- hospital and care homes (during design and construction)
New Regulatory Framework for high-rise buildings
HSE’s framework for high-rise buildings includes:
- HSE is a statutory consultee for planning applications
- BSR will become the building control authority for high-rise buildings decision points during design and construction
- duty holders will have clear accountability and statutory responsibilities as buildings are designed, built, refurbished and occupied
- a golden thread of building information – identified, stored and updated throughout the building’s life cycle
- mandatory reporting of prescribed fire and structural safety occurrences to BSR
Role of Accountable Persons
The Building Safety Act 2022 sets out new roles and legal duties for accountable persons and principal accountable persons; those who manage the fire and structural safety risks of a high-rise residential building.
An accountable person is an individual or organisation that owns or has a legal obligation to repair any common parts of the building.
You must also have one clearly identifiable accountable person, known as the principal accountable person (PAP).
When there are multiple accountable persons, then whoever owns or has a legal obligation to repair the structure and exterior of the building will become the principal accountable person.
Responsibilities of Accountable Persons
The liability for a building’s safety remains with the accountable persons and principal accountable person.
The role of an accountable person is to assess and manage risks posed to people in and about the building. For example, from structural failure or the spread of fire.
This requires several actions, from putting in place preventative measures; reporting issues and incidents; managing resident engagement; the sharing of building information; transfer of building safety information; and engagement with the BSR on changes to accountable persons.
There are further duties for accountable persons. They will need to:
- register the building with the BSR
- manage the structural and fire safety risks for the whole building
The parts of the building that accountable persons are responsible for are:
Registering your High Rise Building
It is a legal requirement under the Building Safety Act 2022 for all HRBs that are 18 metres tall or higher, or at least seven storeys tall, with two or more residential units to be registered with the Building Safety Regulator by 30th September 2023.
The registration will focus on the physical building and also on accountable persons and once the application is completed, the Building Safety Regulator will ask for more detailed information about the structure and safety of your building.