Regulator takes major step forward in “landmark moment” for building safety
27 February 2023
THOSE PARTIES directly responsible for the safety of high-rise residential buildings in England have just six months from April to register with the new Building Safety Regulator at the Health and Safety Executive. The Building Safety Regulator, of course, was established in response to the Grenfell Tower fire to protect high-rise residents from unsafe building practices in England.
Under the Building Safety Act 2022, high-rise residential buildings which are 18 metres tall or higher – or of at least seven storeys in scope – and playing host to two or more residential units are defined as ‘higher-risk’. Across England there are approximately 12,500 of these buildings and the Building Safety Regulator will require all of them to be registered from April 2023, with a named individual being responsible for maintaining their safety.
A new campaign entitled ‘Be Ready’ – which is aimed at the owners and managers of high-rise residential buildings – is purpose-designed to highlight the new legal duties involved. It will call on those responsible for the safety management of higher-risk buildings to prepare for a new wave of regulatory change to ensure that they are ready to step up and comply.
The registration process is a crucial stage in setting up the new building safety regime. Registering buildings in scope will be a legal requirement and owners and managers who fail to comply by the deadline of October this year will be investigated and may well face prosecution.
Sarah Albon (CEO at the Health and Safety Executive) explained: “This registration process is an important step towards building a safer future for those residents living within high-rise buildings. We want it to be clear where the responsibility for safety in these buildings lies.”
Albon continued: “As the Building Safety Regulator, we will draw from our experience to provide guidance and oversight for the industry and lay the foundations for a world-leading building safety regime, which is in itself a core part of our mission to protect people and places.”
Peter Baker (Chief Inspector of Buildings) added: “Our message is clear. The industry must raise its standards and the residents of high-rise buildings in England must be kept safe. This is a landmark moment for building safety. The information provided through registration will be an invaluable part of our crackdown on unsafe building practices. Those who are responsible for high-rise residential buildings must register. Failure to do so will be against the law.”
Package of measures
Building registration is a major element in what is a package of measures orchestrated to ensure high-rise residential buildings are safe for residents and users alike. It follows on from the introduction of Planning Gateway One back in August 2021 and will itself be followed by more robust building control of high-rise developments in tandem with the certification of occupied high-rise buildings by the Building Safety Regulator.
The ‘Be Ready’ campaign will run throughout March to help owners and managers of high-rise residential buildings prepare for their legal responsibilities.
Further information is available online at buildingsafety.campaign.gov.uk
The Building Safety Act gained Royal Assent on 28 April 2022 and makes ground-breaking reforms to give residents and homeowners more rights, powers and protections. The Act overhauls existing regulations, creating lasting change and making clear how residential buildings should be constructed, maintained and made safe into the future. Full implementation of the Act is due in October this year, which means that each building owner should have their building safety regime in place by this time.
Peter Baker is the first head of the building control profession and leads on the work to provide independent and expert advice to industry, Government, landlords and residents. Baker has over 30 years’ experience gained with the Health and Safety Executive as an inspector. He has held a number of senior operational positions, most recently as director of building safety and construction. Since 2017, Baker has led the Health and Safety Executive’s involvement in the Government’s Building Safety Programme.