The Building Safety Act (2022) - Where are we now?

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29 September, 2023

John Pickervance
Partner and Head of Commercial

The Building Safety Act (2022) (BSA) is a significant piece of legislation for the Construction industry in the wake of the Grenfell Fire tragedy. The impetus here is to ensure that Construction projects are carried out to the appropriate specifications in line with health and safety regulations, and that no short cuts are taken.

Considering this, the BSA named the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) as the new Building Safety Regulator, complimenting the introduction of new duties relating to fire and structural safety. It is part of the overhaul of building safety reforms, and it is imperative that businesses within the Construction sector become accustomed with these reforms so that appropriate measures can be taken.

Before the works commence, design applications will need to be submitted to the Regulator, setting out details about how the design will:

  • Meet the building regulations required;
  • Manage change control; and
  • Assist duty holders adhere to fundamental legal requirements - competence and information about the building in question.

The key emphasis here is to ensure that the proposals set out in the application are reasonable and justified. To further assist with this, Professional Appointments need to be tailored so that they are compliant with the BSA and provide suitable remedies for associated breaches. Depending on the type of project you are working on, it can mean that much care is needed to ensure that the Appointments clearly set out the obligations and standard of care required, and to also account for the new duties under the regulations. Our Construction experts are able to advise you on any potential issues that may arise during the application process and anything that you may need to consider within your Professional Appointments and dealing with designers.

At the outset, when looking to submit a planning application to your local planning authority, you will need to show the following criteria in order for the application to be approved:

  • You have considered the fire safety needs;
  • You have considered these needs at an early stage; and
  • You have incorporated your thoughts here into your planning application.

Moreover, the HSE is able to permit local planning authorities to have fire safety input on any proposals put forward. The fire safety needs that need to be considered are comprised of:

  • Site layout;
  • Water supplies to tackle fires; and
  • Access to fire services.

With the reforms, the HSE is to become the building control authority for high-rise buildings. During the design and construction phase of a project, they will have numerous enforcement powers with the focus on ensuring that the relevant parties to a Construction project are considering both the building safety and regulatory compliance aspects. When at this stage of your Construction project, the onus should be on ensuring that building safety and regulatory compliance are always at the forefront of the work to be carried out and suitable provisions should be implemented within your contractual documentation. If you are unsure on the implications of the reforms and need guidance from a legal standpoint on how best to adhere to the building safety and regulatory compliance measures and update your contracts accordingly, you can reach out to any one of our Construction experts.

The Commercial team at Forbes provide a specialised service within the Manufacturing and Construction sectors. It would be prudent to seek legal advice on how best to adhere to the BSA and ensure that your documentation is suitably accommodating of the new requirements.

For more information contact John Pickervance in our Construction & Infrastructure department via email or phone on 0333 207 1134. Alternatively send any question through to Forbes Solicitors via our online Contact Form.

Learn more about our Construction & Infrastructure department here

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