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The Building Safety Act 2022: key dates and facts you need to know

The Building Safety Act 2022 has been put in place with the aim of enhancing regulation around building safety and construction.

builder on laptop square

Introduced to parliament in July 2021, the Building Safety Act 2022 received Royal Assent on 28 April 2022 and came into force on 1 April 2023.

The Act and its proposals are a direct response to the recommendations made by Dame Judith Hackitt in her 2018 review of fire safety and building regulations following the devastating Grenfell fire.

Designed to help people be and feel safer in their homes, it is focused on improving: 

  • The safety and standards of buildings in UK and Wales
  • Safety assurances for the construction and occupation of higher-risk buildings
  • The competence and accountability of those responsible for managing and delivering works to higher-risk buildings 
  • Regulation, enforcement and guidance across the UK construction sector 

What does it change?

The act has already began introducing sweeping reforms that will change the way buildings are designed, constructed and managed as well as giving residents and homeowners more rights, powers, and protections.

cranes

These reforms include:

  • New protections for qualifying leaseholders from the costs associated with correcting historical building safety defects.
  • Providing regulators with an “ambitious toolkit of measures that will allow those responsible for building safety defects to be held to account.” 
  • Overhauling existing regulations to create lasting change and make it clear how residential buildings should be constructed, maintained and made safe.

To implement these reforms, the Act has created three new bodies that will have oversight of the new building safety regime. This includes:

  • The Building Safety Regulator (BSR): this position is currently falls under the remit of the Health and Safety Executive. The BSR is responsible for overseeing the safety and performance of buildings, improving competency across the sector and leading the implementation of the new regulatory framework.
  • The National Regulator of Construction Products (NRCP): falling under the remit of the Office for Product Safety and Standards (OPSS), the NRCP was set up to ensure that any materials used to build homes are safe. It has strong enforcement powers including the ability to conduct its own product-testing when investigating concerns, to remove any product from the market that presents a significant safety risk and prosecute any companies who flout the rules on product safety. The new regulatory regime will start to apply once the necessary secondary legislation on the future regulatory regime has been approved by Parliament.
  • The New Homes Ombudsman (NHO): will allow relevant owners of new-build homes to escalate complaints. Developers of new-builds will be required to become and remain a member of the New Homes Ombudsman Scheme and secondary legislation will set out the enforcement framework and sanctions for breaching requirements. The Secretary of State may also approve or issue a developers’ code of practice which sets out the standards of conduct and quality of work expected of the scheme’s members.

According to the government, these changes will ensure that owners manage their buildings better by providing  industry with the “clear, proportionate framework it needs to deliver more, and better, high-quality homes.”

Who does it affect?

The requirements set out in the Building Safety Act 2022 will apply to all new or existing occupied buildings over 18 metres high (or seven storeys or more) containing at least two residential units.

The design, refurbishment, and construction requirements also apply to all care homes and hospitals meeting the same height threshold.

construction under way

They apply to anyone who commissions building work or participates in the design and construction processes, from clients and building owners to designers and contractors.

As well as creating the three new regulatory bodies listed above, the act has also introduced a new key role; the Accountable Person. Usually a building owner, freeholder, or management company, the Accountable Person will have an ongoing duty to assess Building Safety risks and provide ‘Safety Case Reports’ that demonstrate how they are ensuring safety by identifying, mitigating and managing risks on an ongoing basis.

While the bulk of the requirements set out in the Act are focused on taller buildings, some parts will have implications for all buildings in England and Wales. The new Building Safety Regulator will be responsible for overseeing the performance of the entire sector by setting new standards for building safety, ensuring those standards are met and regulating any construction products used on the UK market. New sanctions of up to two years in prison and unlimited fines will be in place for anyone found to be in breach of their legal duties.

How can GS1 standards help?

The Act will also enforce new requirements for keeping vital, up-to-date safety information about how a building has been designed, built, how it is managed and how it performs.

To facilitate this ‘golden thread of data’, it is essential for the construction industry to collaborate and recognise the need for a common product identifier.

construction workers on laptop

This will enable a consistent approach to the sharing of trusted data across the entire supply chain, from manufacturer to retailer and onto the building site.

The golden thread of data starts with the ability for everyone, at any stage in the manufacture or usage of construction materials, to easily identify a product using a ‘common product language’. Using GS1 standards and the Global Trade Item Number (GTIN) as the unique product identifier will provide the first critical piece of the thread. This product data can then be used to build data sets that will enable stakeholders to make more informed decisions and meet new regulatory requirements for traceability, interoperability, accessibility, verifiable and secure data.

Key dates

Many of the more detailed provisions set out in the Act will be implemented over the next two years through a programme of secondary legislation. See below for a full timeline of any key you may need to be aware of...

2022

28 April: Building Safety Act becomes law

28 June:

1 December: Changes to Approved Document B (Fire Safety) come into force 

2023

23 January: Fire Safety (England) Regulations come into force

13 February: The Mayor of London confirms planning applications for new residential buildings over 30m in London must now have two staircases

6 April:

12 April: Registration opens for existing High-Rise Residential Buildings

21 June: Key Building Information (KBI) can now be submitted as part of the registration process for existing High-Rise Residential Buildings

30 September: Deadline for registering existing High-Rise Residential Buildings

1 October:

2024

1 April:

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