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Building Safety Act marks the start of a new era
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Building Safety Act marks the start of a new era

29 Apr 22

The Building Safety Act received Royal Assent on 28 April 2022.  Introduced in response to the Grenfell Tower tragedy and Dame Judith Hackitt’s report on Building Regulations and Fire Safety, it is the most fundamental reform of regulation across the construction and residential property sectors in living memory. It transforms the law relating to design and construction of all buildings and operation of higher risk residential buildings. It will have an impact on the work of everyone in the construction sector.

The Act creates a new Building Safety Regulator, responsible for the regulation of ALL buildings, with new statutory roles for designers and contractors on all projects. It also gives responsibility for the oversight and operation of the building control system and registration of building control professionals to the new Regulator.

The Act addresses how we design, build and renovate all our buildings in future. It introduces changes to the Building Act, Architects Act and Building Regulations that apply across the board. In addition, the Act creates a new and more rigorous safety regime for the planning, design, construction and operation of certain buildings, initially residential buildings of seven storeys or more or over 18m in height. It also applies to the planning, design and construction of hospital and care home buildings that meet the height threshold.

The more robust safety regime will take a proportionate, risk-based approach to all building work, including remediation. It will introduce new requirements for the competence of those who design and build as well as for operators of higher risk residential buildings. The new regime will be enforced by the new Building Safety Regulator and is backed by criminal sanctions.

A key area for CIBSE members is the competence of designers and contractors, with new dutyholder roles for principal designers and contractors. These requirements go well beyond CDM Regulations (2015) – they are not just a restatement of CDM but significant additional duties that apply to anyone undertaking building work. They will cover all building work that requires a building notice or deposit of plans, placing statutory duties on clients to satisfy themselves that those they employ are competent, individually, and organisationally, to undertake the work. For further information see the dutyholder regulations on the CIBSE website.

Dr. Hywel Davies, CIBSE Technical Director commented;

“All those involved in the design, construction and management of buildings in England will need to adapt to the new regime and deliver the cultural changes needed deliver safe and good quality buildings. And its vital that we do this in a way that also delivers net zero carbon ready buildings. The next few years will see significant changes and CIBSE stands ready to respond and work with the industry to deliver the changes that are required.”

The requirement for high rise buildings to be registered with the Building Safety Regulator is expected to come into effect from April 2023. The Government’s transition plan provides an overview of when changes are expected to come into effect. However, this may be subject to change as the Act is now law. 

CIBSE is totally committed to work with our members, their employers, government, including the new Building Safety Regulator, BSI as the National Standards Body and all interested parties to implement the provisions of the Act and develop the supporting regulations and standards. 

See CIBSE's overview of the Building Safety Act, including key implications and competence requirements

CIBSE is also committed to supporting built environment professionals in complying with the Building Safety Act and has launched brand new training on the Act.  Find out more and register online

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