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Building Control for Higher Risk Buildings

The Building (Higher-Risk Buildings Procedures) (England) Regulations 2023 came into force on 1st October 2023. They set out the new building control processes for higher risk buildings that will apply to new projects.

A major element of the Building Safety Act is the introduction of the new Building Safety Regulator to oversee all aspects of building safety and the Building Regulations. A key role for the Regulator from 1st October 2023 is that they are now the Building Control body for all new higher risk buildings (HRBs) for which applications are made on or after that date. This is now a legal requirement for ALL HRBs: developers cannot choose their building control body for these buildings.

Parts 1 and 2 of the new regulations set out the process for building control of a new HRB and for approval of works to an existing HRB respectively. Regulation 4 sets out in great detail what an application to the new Regulator will require. This includes all the information that is required later under the Key Building Information regulations when the HRB is registered. It also requires information about drainage and about the timing of the work. Part 1 implements Gateway 2 for new HRBs and it also specifies the mandatory requirements to notify the regulator prior to starting construction on site.

It details the various plans and statements that must be provided with the application. These include plans of the building sufficient to demonstrate that the building work “would comply with all applicable requirements of the building regulations”.

In addition, the application will require a competence declaration, a construction control plan, a change control plan and a mandatory occurrence reporting plan. These will describe how the work is to be undertaken and they tie in with the new duties to plan, monitor and manage the works in the new Part 2A of the Building (Amendment etc) Regulations. They set out what the applicants plan to do, a plan against which they can be held to account by the regulator. There are always changes on a project, and the requirement here is for them to be properly agreed by all parties (the duty to cooperate applies here), justified, tested for compliance with the regulations and recorded. If they are significant then they may need to be notified to or fully approved by the Regulator.

In addition, all applications for an HRB will need to be accompanied by a Building Regulations compliance statement, setting out how the proposed design will comply with all aspects of the regulations, as well as a fire and emergency file and a planning statement.  In addition, where part of the building will be occupied before completion of the HRB work, a partial completion strategy will be required. Schedule 1 of the regulations defines these documents in more detail.

Finally, any application made on behalf of the client will require a statement signed by the client confirming their agreement to the application being made and to the information it contains.

Part 2 sets out the provisions for applications for approval of work on an existing HRB. Similar documents, plans and information are required for works to an existing HRB as for a new one.

It is worth noting that Part 2, which covers works to an existing HRB, begins with a provision for undertaking emergency works to an existing HRB. This recognises that something may need urgent and immediate repair to stop leaks or make good damage and that the usual approval process is simply inappropriate. In such a case, work can be done, but the Regulator will then need to be informed as soon as practicable.

Except for emergency repairs the Regulator needs to know about and approve the proposals for ALL building work undertaken on any HRB, new or old.

And as the new rules started to apply from 1st October 2023, with a phased introduction over a six-month period, Accountable Persons will need to have the procedures in place now to notify the Regulator of any such work. There are transitional arrangements which explain when a project will come within the remit of the regulator, with detailed regulations describing a wide range of scenarios for projects in progress. These will need to be carefully read by those responsible for buildings that have begun the building control process under a local authority or private sector building control".

A copy of the regulations can be found here:- The Higher-Risk Buildings (Key Building Information etc.) (England) Regulations 2023 (

The associated explanatory memorandum can be found here

DLUHC have also published a government response to the consultation on the regulations which can be found here

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