The inception of the Building Safety Act can be attributed to the harrowing Grenfell disaster in 2017. Following the receipt of Royal Assent in April 2022, this legislation primarily seeks to assert control over building safety risks in order to ensure the protection of individuals in and around structures.

Nevertheless, navigating the intricacies of the Act and its associated regulations can prove challenging, as the same terms can carry distinct meanings depending on their context.

This article offers deep insights into the Act’s background and presents recent updates.

If you have any queries about how this legislation may impact you or your business, please don’t hesitate to reach out to our Property Litigation team.

Industry Insights: It’s worth noting that the Building Safety Act has triggered a substantial reaction within the property industry’s professional community.

Earlier this year, during a discussion with Place North West, Fiona Fletcher-Smith, the Chief Executive of L&Q, voiced her concerns about the potential ramifications of a skills gap in the UK on the execution of the Building Safety Act.

Likewise, Todd Marler, Senior Director of Operations at Greystar, emphasized the need for the government to take more time to fully comprehend the Act’s consequences when asked about their primary request.

Moreover, Suzannah Nichol MBE, Chief Executive of Build UK, emphasized that organizations should not passively wait for directives but should proactively take initiative.

Commercial Property Focus: While it might be tempting to assume that the Building Safety Act is relevant solely to high-rise residential buildings, the Act, as highlighted in the guidance notes for the Commercial Property Standard Enquiries, is one of the most expansive pieces of real estate legislation in this century.

The Act extends its reach into the commercial property sector, with numerous provisions applicable to all property types, including those concerning building liability orders.

Furthermore, “higher-risk buildings” (HRBs) encompass mixed-use properties, not just exclusively residential structures.

Given the growing presence of assets like purpose-built student accommodation in portfolios, this Act assumes even greater importance for investors.

Building Safety Regulator: A pivotal aspect of the Building Safety Act is the Building Safety Regulator (BSR), entrusted with overseeing and implementing the Act’s core provisions.

One of the BSR’s primary responsibilities is supervising “the safety and standards of all buildings.”

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has been designated as the BSR, as per s2(1) of the Building Safety Act.

Section 3 dictates that, in fulfilling its building-related functions, the BSR must ensure that regulatory activities are carried out transparently, accountably, proportionately, consistently, and only where necessary.

October 2023 Updates: Earlier this year, secondary legislation was introduced, bringing forth a new framework for the design and construction of HRBs under the BSA. This legislation took effect on 1 October 2023.

It mandates compulsory building control procedures, building rules, and amendments to the roles of building control inspectors.

For instance, owners of HRBs are now held accountable for their responsibilities both during construction and occupancy.

Additionally, a ‘Golden Thread’ of information must be created and maintained for every HRB, a regime overseen by the BSR.

Except for HRBs covered by transitional provisions, local authority building control and approved inspectors are no longer options – the BSR is the designated building control authority for all HRBs.

Furthermore, the BSR must approve works and issue a completion certificate before an HRB can be occupied.

1 October 2023 also marked the deadline for registering all existing high-rise residential buildings, with over 13,000 applications initiated by duty holders by that date. It is now an offense to allow residents to occupy an unregistered high-rise residential building.

Looking Ahead: As of 1 April 2024, several additional developments are set to be implemented.

These include the conclusion of transitional arrangements for HRBs, the enforcement of the Professional Conduct Rules for Registered Building Control Approvers (RBCAs) and the Code of Conduct for Registered Building Inspectors (RBIs), as well as the issuance of building assessment certificates by the BSR.

Additionally, 1 April 2024 signifies the deadline for registration as Building Control Approvers and Building Inspectors.

In conclusion, while the regulations introduced on 1 October 2023 added to the existing legal framework in this field, some uncertainty remains as we await the outcomes of related court cases and the enactment of further regulations.



Please contact our property team with any concerns that you may have.