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Building Safety Regulator launches campaign for residents of high-rise buildings

04 March 2024

HIGH-RISE building residents “have more rights and protections than ever before”, asserts the Building Safety Regulator at the Health and Safety Executive, with residents now able to check if their high-rise building is registered.

The Building Safety Regulator has been formed to drive forward safety standards right across the built environment, while the Building Safety Act 2022 is at the centre of building safety reforms in England.

The new regulator is asking all those living in tall buildings in England to be aware of how new building safety laws affect them. These laws protect and empower those living in high-rise residential buildings to take part in safety decisions that affect them, as well as providing a clear process for reporting safety concerns. “This is a major milestone in the journey towards safer high-rise living, placing residents’ rights front and centre.”

The Building Safety Act gained Royal Assent on 28 April 2022 and provides a framework for ensuring the safety of residents living in high-rise buildings, defined as structures standing 18 metres (or seven or more floors) in height and containing at least two residential units. These buildings are defined as ‘higher-risk’ under the Building Safety Act. Residents of these buildings are urged to find out more about how the new law affects them.

In essence, the Building Safety Act overhauls existing regulations, creating lasting change and makes clear how residential buildings should be constructed, maintained and made safe going forward.

Every high-rise building is now required to have a Principal Accountable Person in place, ensuring that those responsible for managing a given building’s safety can be held to account when it comes to fulfilling their legal obligations.

Enhanced residents’ rights

The enhanced residents’ rights include:

*assurance that safety risks in their building are being effectively addressed

*access to ongoing information on what’s being done to improve safety in their building

*empowerment to voice safety concerns, with assurance that their concern(s) will be taken seriously

*clear, accessible and easy to understand information regarding safety matters

The legislation empowers residents to report safety concerns, all the while assured that their grievances will be taken seriously. Clear protocols are in place for expressing concerns or making a complaint. Residents can raise concerns and issues to the Principal Accountable Person for their building.

Operating within the Health and Safety Executive, the Building Safety Regulator is a crucial part of the Government’s response to the Grenfell Tower tragedy. An essential element of the new regulator’s role is to ensure the safety of high-rise residential buildings.

Heart of regulatory efforts

Philip White, director of building safety at the Health and Safety Executive, said: “Residents are at the heart of our regulatory efforts. It’s vital for us to amplify their voices and to recognise the role they play in the safety of their buildings. Safety standards in high-rise buildings must be assessed and managed by the Principal Accountable Person. The regulator will review how the building is managed and whether the Principal Accountable Person has complied with their duties.”

White added: “Members of our Residents Panel represent the diverse resident community in high-rise buildings. They provide valuable insights based on their real-life experiences of living in a high-rise building. This engagement contributes significantly to our regulatory programme for such structures.”

In conclusion, White observed: “The Residents Panel welcomes the new measures empowering high-rise residents. They are encouraged by the assurance that residents can speak up with confidence, knowing that their voices will not only be heard, but also that their concerns will be considered fully.”

Marlene Price BEM, a member of the Building Safety Regulator’s Residents Panel, concluded: “Everyone should feel safe in their home, including the millions of people who live in high-rise buildings. The Building Safety Regulator is working to make this ambition a reality.”

*Visit the Building Safety Regulator’s campaign website to learn more about its work aimed at making buildings in England much safer