The Building Safety Act 2022 introduced a new regulatory regime for “higher-risk buildings” in England, defined as buildings that are either at least 18 metres in height, or have at least seven storeys, and contain at least two residential units.
Such buildings will need to have a designated “Accountable Person”, who will be responsible for ensuring that fire and structural safety is being properly managed for the whole building. “Accountable Person” is defined as a person or company with legal ownership of, or repairing rights in respect of, the common parts of a building. There could be more than one Accountable Person in some buildings, in which case there must be a “Principal Accountable Person” with overall responsibility. Each Accountable Person will still have responsibility for managing risks within the areas for which they are the Accountable Person.
Duty-holders are required to create and maintain a “golden thread” of building information throughout the lifecycle of higher-risk buildings, including up-to-date safety information regarding the building design, build and management. Following the construction phase, Accountable Persons will become relevant duty-holders for this purpose.
A new Building Safety Regulator (BSR) has also been established, as part of the Health and Safety Executive (HSE). All buildings in scope of the Act will need to be registered with the BSR, with a deadline of October 2023 for all relevant ‘in-scope’ buildings.
Once registered, the BSR will request that Accountable Persons submit information (Building Safety Case Report) to attain a Building Assessment Certificate. Once directed to, this application must be made within 28 days.
The Building Safety Case Report will need to be submitted by the Principal Accountable Person. This will include information about the reasonable steps taken to prevent building safety risks. The BSR will issue a Building Assessment Certificate if satisfied.
A building safety case report is a document that summarises all the information used to manage the risk of fire spread and the structural safety of the building; otherwise known as the building ‘safety case’. Information within the ‘safety case’ should show how the Responsible Person is preventing fire spread and structural failure of the building, including limiting such consequences.
How NIFES can help?
NIFES can support clients in preparing for their assessment by the BSR. Our team can carry out a Safety Case Gap Analysis to help ensure that essential building information is available. This will include a review of basic information on the building (fire strategy, building plans, height, size, extent etc.), the building construction, the occupant profile, if the building has been refurbished and to what extent, the installed fire precautions and fire protection measures, structural integrity of the building, the type of services and utilities, and the maintenance and inspection regime in place.
The BSR anticipates that if the building is existing, possibly changed ownership multiple times, some of the information you’ll need may not be readily available. However, they expect that responsible persons take reasonable steps to find the required information.
If information gaps remain, an appraisal is required to determine how important the missing information is for managing building safety. In some cases, this may require the undertaking of surveys or commissioning reports. The extent of replacing information should be proportionate to how important the missing information is.
Where there may be gaps in this information (such as building plans, fire strategy information, external wall appraisals) our team can also assist in the provision of these services.
Once all the required information is available, our competent Consultants will prepare a Building Safety Case Report, identifying the building’s major fire and structural hazards, and how these hazards are being managed.
The Building Safety Case Report will include a summary of the below items:
Description of the building, age, construction and uses, supported by floor plans.
Description of the building occupant profiles.
Details of the emergency plans and procedures in place.
An assessment of the buildings fire and structural safety risks and control measures
An overview of the buildings safety management system, indicating the roles and responsibilities, maintenance and inspection regimes, performance monitoring, change management processes and other emergency arrangements.
How occurrences and complaints are reported and to whom.
Description of the resident engagement strategy.
Contact us at NIFES for further information and support.