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Building Safety Bill summary 2022

The government’s Building Safety Bill has now received royal assent. Although the Bill is now enshrined in law, many of the rules will not be applied for up to 18 months. This is to give the construction industry time to prepare and to ensure that the required secondary legislation is in place.

What is the new Building Safety Bill?

The new Building Safety Bill is a government mandate. It is designed to increase the powers of residents to help them to hold builders and developers to account for any dangerous or defective building work.

The bill came into existence following the Grenfell Tower tragedy. It addresses concerns about fire safety in multi-occupancy buildings and improves legislation regarding the safety of building materials, design, construction, and building maintenance.

What is the point of the Building Safety Bill?

The Building Safety Bill’s main focus is on the responsibility of building designers, building owners, and developers. The new legislation will ensure that residents’ concerns are heard, and any required action is taken.

Some of the main points that the bill will contain are:

  • Detailed legal framework for managing high risk buildings
  • Using a Building Safety Regulator (BSR) to manage safety standards
  • Protecting leaseholders from building safety responsibilities
  • Incorporating a Home Ombudsman Scheme
  • Improving fire safety regulations

Once the bill is fully implemented, certain construction work will always need to adhere to the new legislation.

When will the Building Safety Bill become law?

The Building Safety Bill was first published on 5th July 2021. The bill then passed through a committee stage where it was examined in the House of Commons. During this stage, there was pre-legislative scrutiny of the building safety bill and all proposals were carefully considered.

On the 19th January 2022, the report stage of the bill took place where MPs were able to propose further amendments.

The key pledge agreed by MPs was that ‘no leaseholder in a building over 11 metres (four storeys) will have to pay to fix cladding problems’. This will place responsibility solely on building owners and developers and protect councils and leaseholders.

A date for when the Building Safety Bill will become law is yet to be fixed. Assuming there are no major delays, however, it is expected to be fully implemented later in 2022.

What work is subject to the new legislation?

The new legislation contained within the Building Safety Bill will apply to all buildings considered to be of higher risk of fire or structural failure. All multi-occupancy residential buildings will be covered by the legislation if they meet the following criteria:

  • Are at least 18 metres in height
  • Contain at least seven storeys
  • Contain at least two separate residential units

Care homes and hospitals that are at least 18 metres in height will also be covered by the new legislation.

Parts 2 and 4 of the bill will apply to properties owned or occupied by the Crown. This includes all buildings owned by Crown Estates or Government Departments which are at least 18 metres in height.

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Building safety Bill fact check

The Building Safety Bill has taken several years to develop. It has gone through numerous revisions and consultations to ensure that it is as comprehensive and effective as possible. To help you to understand the full implications of the bill, here are some facts about how the bill will be applied.

The Building Safety Bill will:

  • Improve access to the Defective Premises Act 1972
  • Strengthen fire safety under the Regulatory Reform Order 2005
  • Implement a new Home Ombudsman Scheme
  • Create a Building Safety Regulator as part of the Health & Safety Executive
  • Implement three regulatory gateways to improve building standards
  • Allocate an Accountable Person to liaise with the BSR and air residents’ concerns

It is important to remember that the Building Safety Bill will not apply to buildings under 18 metres in height. Fire safety is also an integral part of the bill.

Fire safety in the Building Safety Bill

The Building Safety Bill directly changes the FSO (Fire Safety Order). The Fire Safety Clause in the Building Safety Bill will strengthen fire safety requirements for high-rise residential buildings.

Included in the Building Safety Bill are changes to the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005. Fire Safety Clause 134 amendments will be implemented, and a Responsible Person (RP) will be selected for every eligible building.

The Responsible Person will have numerous obligations for maintaining a building’s fire safety standards. These include:

  • Completing fire risk assessments
  • Keeping full records of all fire safety documentation
  • Being responsible for the safety of all people who use the building
  • Keeping residents updated with the latest fire safety information
  • Maintaining direct contact with an Accountable Person regarding any duties covered by the Building Safety Bill
  • Keeping records of any people who assist the official RP

During the consultation stage, over 250 organisations were involved in developing the fire safety clause improvements. Local authorities, construction experts, RPs, and residents all contributed to help ensure that the new fire safety standards would improve a building’s safety.

Fire risk assessment cost

Retrofitting and new-build properties

New buildings which are subject to the Building Safety Bill will have to pass through three regulatory Gateways. These will assess the building’s safety standards and will apply at:

  • The planning stage
  • The final design stage (before construction begins)
  • When construction is complete and before occupation is allowed

Once occupied, buildings will need to be registered with the Building Safety Regulator (BSR). An Accountable Person (AP) will then maintain contact with the BSR by establishing a ‘Golden Thread of Information’. The AP will be required to listen to any resident concerns regarding building safety and cooperate with local regulators and the HSE when required.

With regards to retrofitting, residents of eligible buildings will have double the amount of time (15 years instead of six) to submit compensation claims for sub-standard construction work.

Once the Building Safety Bill becomes law, it can be applied retrospectively for up to 15 years. This means that claims of defective work can be submitted on buildings constructed up to 15 years before the bill becomes law.

Building Safety Bill FAQs

Is the Building Safety Bill law?

The Building Safety Bill became law on 29th April 2022. It is now known as the Building Safety Act 2022. Although the Building Safety Act is now enshrined in law, many of its provisions will not come into effect for another 12 to 18 months. This delay is to ensure that all secondary legislation is complete.

Who does the Building Safety Bill apply to?

The Building Safety Bill applies to building designers including architects, building owners, and property developers. It also creates an Accountable Person (AP) who will become responsible for building safety once the building is occupied.

An AP can be an individual, a corporation, a partnership, or a management company. The AP must assess the building safety risks, appoint a Building Safety Manager, and apply to register the building as a high-risk building.

What buildings are subject to the Building Safety Bill?

The Building Safety Bill applies to new multi-occupancy residential buildings, care homes and hospitals that are at least 18 metres in height Residential buildings must also have at least seven storeys and at least two residential units.

The bill can also be applied retrospectively for defective works carried out over a historic period of 15 years.

Is the fire safety Bill the same as the Building Safety Bill?

The Building Safety Bill makes direct changes to the FSO (Fire Safety Order). The Fire Safety Clause in the Building Safety Bill strengthens fire safety requirements for high-rise residential buildings.

The Building Safety Bill is currently under government review. Its purpose is to reform building safety through new stricter regulations. In this article, we will take a closer look at how the Building Safety Bill will affect building designers, building owners, construction workers and residents.

What are higher risk buildings?

A higher risk building is a building where the impact of a fire could be disastrous. Residential buildings over 18 metres in height, hospitals, care homes, schools, hotels, and student housing are all deemed to be higher risk buildings.

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