The Building Safety Bill received Royal Assent today (28 April 2022) and is now an Act of Parliament. It has been a long process leading up to this point since the tragic Grenfell fire on 14 June 2017, but there is much further work to do in order for the changes in the Act to be implemented.
As many stakeholders will be aware, the Act is a significant piece of legislation that completely overhauls the regulatory regime for higher risk buildings in England, as well as introducing numerous other changes that affect construction products regulation, competency standards in the construction industry, the management of building fire safety risks, liabilities, and so on.
Peter Baker was previously appointed as Chief Inspector of Buildings by the Health and Safety Executive, and is leading the new Building Safety Regulator as established under the Act. Mr Baker notes that:
“The Building Safety Act introduces tough new measures for the safety and quality of buildings which will be enforced by the new independent regulator being established in HSE.
“I call on everyone involved in the design, construction and management of buildings in England to now step up, get ready for the changes, and work together to drive the necessary culture change to protect people and deliver safe and good quality buildings”
The Government’s transition plan notes when various provisions are expected to come into effect, however this may well be updated now that the Act is law. HSE has said that the registration of high-rise buildings will be starting from April 2023, with the new safety management regime requirements applying from October 2023. No doubt further dates for other changes will soon be released.
Now that the Act is in force, Developers need to be looking at how they procure higher risk projects and what effect the Act will have on these developments and their obligations in relation to the same. Similarly, Contractors and Consultants need to understand their additional obligations not only on higher risk developments, but also on building projects generally where they will hold specific duties.
All construction stakeholders (including manufacturers and suppliers) need to understand the full extent of the changes coming, and appreciate now what actions and business investment are required in order to ensure compliance with the new regime, and act now or risk being caught short.