Socotec UK, the provider of testing, inspection and certification services answers all your top questions and sheds some light on the new Building Safety Act (BSA). Whether you’re a homeowner, a tenant, a business owner, or just someone curious about building safety, there is an answer for you.
What is the Building Safety Act,2022 (BSA 2022)?
This new act has been brought about to enhance the regulatory system governing buildings to ensure better safety and a stronger voice for building occupants.
Why has this act been introduced?
Following the Grenfell tower fire and the Edinburgh school closures in 2017, an independent review of building and fire safety carried out by Dame Judith Hacket proposed that current fire safety in high rises were not fit for purpose and that a clear culture change was required with respect to relative responsibilities of building owners and those responsible for building maintenance.What is classified as a High-Risk Building?
A building of seven-storeys or 18 metres high which incorporates at least two residential units, a care or hospital.
Care homes and hospitals are exempt from the requirement to register as this is done through the Care Quality Commission.
Other exemptions include:
- Secure residential units
- Military barracks.
Is complying with the Building Safety Act, 2022 mandatory?
The BSA is expected to become law in 2024 and registration of relevant buildings will be a legal requirement.
Who is responsible for registering a building?
This is to be done by the accountable person (AP). This is the individual or organisation that owns the building or is responsible for the maintenance of the building. Where there is more than one AP, a principal AP will need to be nominated.
When do buildings need to be registered?
All occupied buildings must be registered by 30 September 2023.
After 1 October 2023 all new high-risk buildings must be registered on completion.
What are the penalties for not registering?
Not registering relevant buildings will be a criminal offence punishable by up to two years in prison and a fine.
What do I need to register a building?
Building information will be input into a government website portal.
The information required at this stage is:
- No. of AP or PAP and which parts of the building they are responsible for
- The no. of floors at or above ground level
- Building height in meters
- The no. of residential units
- Year of building completion
- It’s address or addresses
- Building type – single, connected or structure of multiple parts
- If the building was completed by the 6 April 2023, the date and reference number of the building control completion certificate and the body who issued the certificate
- Registration fee.
What happens after registration?
After registration you will be asked for “Key Building Information (KBI)”, including:
- Any ancillary buildings
- Building usage e.g. residential, office, commercial, shop, recreational, industrial or storage
- Basement provision and usage
- Building materials used and percentage split of building material
- Insulation materials. If more than one type is used, the percentage split must be stated
- Roof type, pitch, insulation and waterproofing
- Any fixtures attached to the building and the materials that have been used for these
- The number of staircases
- Type of energy supply and energy storage to the building
- A list of fire and smoke equipment and their locations in the building
- Building evacuation strategy.
What happens after providing the Key Building Information?
The Building Safety Regulator will instruct you to make an application for a Building Safety Assessment. This will include the provision of a safety case, mandatory occurrence reporting system and a resident engagement.
What if I do not have all the information?
The HSE require that you make all efforts to obtain the information required or at least show the steps you have taken to obtain all necessary information.
What is a Safety Case?
This is a study of all the potential fire and structural hazards within your building. The safety case has to show what these potential risks are and how they are managed. Usually this will involve a fire and structural survey.
What is a mandatory occurrence reporting system?
The appointed person/principal appointed person must establish and operate an effective mandatory occurrence reporting system. This system should include:
- Be known to, understood by and accessible to AP’s / PAP’s
- Form an ongoing integral and regular part of the building safety risks management process
- Maintain a “whole of building” approach and be built to allow for urgent safety reporting
- Identify and capture safety occurrences
- Enable safety occurrences to be formally reported to the Building Safety Regulator.
What is a resident engagement strategy?
The resident engagement areas are:
- Providing residents with building safety information
- A resident’s engagement strategy
- Contravention notices.
What other responsibilities of the appointed person /principal appointed person?
The AP/PAP is responsible for maintaining a “Golden Thread” of building information. This is essentially an accurate information trail of all building information and works carried out. This information must be held digitally.