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November 17, 2021

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Building safety

Latest updates designed to provide further clarity on how key aspects of the Building Safety Bill will work in practice

The government has published new draft regulations providing further clarity on aspects of the Building Safety Bill and how the building safety regime will work in practice.

The Building Safety Bill sets out how the Government intends to enact the recommendations in Dame Judith Hackitt’s independent review of fire safety. The detail of how much of the new building safety regime will work is set out in draft regulations known as Statutory Instruments.

The Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities has published new draft regulations that set out the principles an accountable person must follow to prevent or reduce a building safety risk.

The explanatory note provided with the Prescribed Principles for Management of Building Safety Risks Regulations states:

“The duty to manage building safety risks is focussed on life safety and these principles will provide a framework to support accountable persons in their decision making. Following the principles will help ensure reasonable and proportionate measures are in place within a building, delivering suitable layers of protection to prevent, control and mitigate building safety risks.”

The draft Construction Products Regulations 2022 is the largest set of regulations, running to 55 pages and provides the detail to accompany Schedule 9 of the Building Safety Bill. With minor exemptions these apply to the whole of the UK, unlike other regulations which mostly apply to England only.

The draft Building Safety Fees Regulations set out how the Building Safety Regulator will charge for its services.

The regulator must…

  • Set out the fees and charges to be recovered for or in connection with the performance of the chargeable functions in a charging scheme
  • Ensure that, taking one year with another, the fees and charges payable under the charging scheme as far as possible equate to the costs incurred by the regulator in performing the chargeable functions
  • Any fee or charge payable under these Regulations must be calculated in accordance with the charging scheme
  • Consider amending the charging scheme from time to time
  • Publish the charging scheme or any amendment to the scheme on its website at least seven days before the date on which the scheme or the amendment is to come into effect.

There is detail in the draft Restricted Activities and Functions Regulations for building control and its use of registered building inspectors who must have the appropriate registration for the building in question.

The government previously published three draft Statutory Instruments, the draft Descriptions and Supplementary Provisions Regulations supplements the existing definition of a higher-risk building found in the 1984 Building Act and confirms exclusions.

Further detail about duty holders is contained in the draft Appointment of Persons, Industry Competence and Dutyholders Regulations.

General duties include: 

  • Any person carrying out any building work must take all reasonable steps to ensure the work carried out by them (and by any workers under their control) is planned, managed and monitored so as to be in compliance with all relevant requirements
  • Any person carrying out any design work must take all reasonable steps to ensure the design work carried out by them (and by any workers under their control) is planned, managed and monitored so that, if built, the building work to which the design relates would be in compliance with all relevant requirements
  • Any person carrying out any building work must cooperate with the client, designers and contractors (including the principal designer and principal contractor, if any) to the extent necessary to ensure that the work is in compliance with all relevant requirements.
  • Any person carrying out any design work must cooperate with the client, designers and contractors (including the principal designer and principal contractor, if any) to the extent necessary to ensure that, if built, the building work to which the design relates would be in compliance with all relevant requirements

The Building Safety Regulator will act as building control for the construction of new higher-risk buildings (or those where works lead to it falling into scope) and the detail of how that will work is set out in the draft Higher-Risk Buildings Regulations.

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