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The Building Safety Act was developed in light of Dame Judith Hackitt’s review of existing building regulations following the Grenfell tragedy of 2017. Based on the finding that the existing system was unfit for purpose, the government introduced the new act.

This allowed for the creation of a golden thread of information, with relevant building data being shared at each stage from construction to occupation. Gateways were also established, with the Building Safety Regulator expected to review and either approve or end the separate stages of construction.

The Building Safety Act explained

As the biggest reform in building safety for a generation, the Building Safety Act applies to all buildings, with additional requirements for high residential and high-risk buildings greater than 18 metres in height or more than 7 storeys tall and containing at least 2 residential units.

It specifies the need to record information about elements of development such as the use of materials and installation methods. A final review must also be carried out following construction, with the building regulator having to approve occupation.


Members of the UK Parliament were initially made aware of the Building Safety Act with an announcement in July 2020. Given the importance of avoiding another Grenfell, the act was prioritised and passed under Royal Assent on 28th April 2022.

As primary legislation, the act has come under subsequent review, with various secondary items being developed and gradually integrated. Such secondary items as the Building Inspector Competence Framework (BICoF), and Building Safety Levy have been subject to consultation by the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities.

Building Safety Regulator

The introduction of the Building Safety Act 2022 also brought about the new role of the Building Safety Regulator (BSR), with assigned responsibility for monitoring the development and maintenance of compliant properties.

Formed as part of the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), the primary functions of the BSR include:

  • Overseeing the safety and standards of all buildings
  • Helping and encouraging the built environment industry and building control professionals to improve their competence
  • Leading the implementation of the new regulatory framework for high-rise buildings.


The HSE was also appointed as a statutory consultee for planning applications, with responsibility for keeping dutyholders to account and ensuring the sharing of relevant property data as part of the golden thread.

Such data must be kept in a secure digital format as a single source of truth for the reference of all relevant parties as needed. The HSE is also expected to maintain a register of occupied higher-risk buildings, building inspectors, and approvers.

These new regulatory roles have also been introduced:

  • National Regulator for Construction Products – ensuring a more effective regime for the harmonisation of building products across the EU and UK
  • New Homes Ombudsman (Owner Complaints) – requiring the sign-up of all major residential developers for the processing of complaints and development of new codes of practice.

High-risk buildings

The scope of the Building Safety Act was extended under the Higher-Risk Buildings (Descriptions and Supplementary Provisions) Regulations of 2023 to include hospitals, care homes, and domestic properties with 2 or more residential units.

There is the potential for further expansion to include hotels, military premises, and other buildings at higher risk. All construction companies have therefore been advised to familiarise themselves with the act.

Dutyholder responsibilities set out by the act came into force in October 2023, with the Building Safety Regulator becoming the building control authority for all high-rise buildings. Registration also opened for new high-rise residential buildings, with the Mandatory Occurrence Reporting System being rolled out.

The BSR released a statement outlining the following enforcement methods in December 2023:

  • Providing written information regarding breaches of law
  • Verbal warnings
  • Requiring improvements in the way risks are controlled and managed
  • Requiring action to be taken to remedy non-compliance
  • Stopping certain activities where they create serious risks or where they do not comply with relevant requirements
  • Recommending and bringing prosecutions where there has been a serious breach of law
  • Seeking appointment of special measures managers when an appointed person for a higher-risk building fails to carry out building safety functions.

Who does the Building Safety Act affect?

From developers to investors, contractors and property managers, the act applies to all those involved in property commissioning, development and management.

The act regards all of these parties as duty-holders with responsibility for taking every possible step to reduce the risk of fire spread or structural failure. They must certain competencies to undertake these responsibilities in addition to those under the Construction, Design, and Management regulations of 2015. This doesn’t apply to trainees or apprentices, who must be supervised.

Accountable persons

The Accountable Person or Principal Accountable Person (where there is more than one Accountable Person) must demonstrate that they have taken all practicable measures to limit risks within buildings that come under the scope of the act. If such responsibilities aren’t met then there will be a risk of legal proceedings.

The Accountable Person for Building Safety Act compliance is also expected to:

  • Register all new and existing buildings covered by the act with the Building Safety Regulator
  • Conduct regular building safety assessments and maintain safety case reports as proof of compliance
  • Prepare an engagement strategy to ensure that resident views are taken into account when making building safety discussions
  • Develop a framework and process to ensure the reporting of mandatory and voluntary occurrences to the BSR
  • Apply for and display a Building Assessment Certificate.

Fire safety order

Further accountability is ensured by the Fire Safety Order, with Responsible Persons expected to keep all people on the premises safe. Financial responsibility must also be taken for remedial works, with additional charges potentially being made through the Building Safety Levy.

Other requirements of building owners and landlords include:

  • Carrying out regular safety checks and inspections
  • Sharing comprehensive information with potential buyers and leaseholders
  • Giving proof of compliance to avoid penalties.

In addition, office interior contractors and designers are legally required to:

  • Only employ suitably qualified personnel
  • Report risks
  • Comply with materials regulations
  • Keep comprehensive records.

The fulfilment of such duties should make for greater reassurance for residents in high-rise and high-risk buildings. If they feel that their views and concerns aren’t being taken into account, then they may refer to the BSR. The length of time that homeowners can claim compensation for sub-standard repair work has also been extended from 5 to 15 years.

Key updates in the Building Safety Act

The Building Safety Act has placed a greater focus on fire safety, with more stringent regulations specific to the management of fire risk assessments and elements of property at high risk. It also sets out emergency evacuation procedures and appropriate means of cooperation with fire services.

These amendments were made to the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) order of 2005:

  • The responsible person may only employ another individual to support in conducting or reviewing a fire safety assessment if that person is competent (with sufficient training and experience or knowledge)
  • If the Responsible Person employs two or more people to support with the fire risk assessment then they must ensure cooperation between those individuals
  • The Responsible Person must give residents of the domestic premises comprehensible and relevant information about the relevant fire safety matters (including identified fire safety risks and preventative/protective measures).
  • The Responsible Person must keep records of the relevant fire safety matters.

The act also emphasises the importance of maintaining sound structural integrity, with assigned duties for carrying out structural surveys, safety risk assessments, and remediation works as required. Suitable construction materials must be used, with robust oversight to ensure that the property is at minimal risk of structural damage.

Schedule 11 sets out construction product regulations, such as:

  • Prohibiting the marketing or supply of construction products that aren’t considered safe (not presenting any risk to persons’ health and safety or minimising the risk as much as possible)
  • Giving relevant authorities the power to require the marking of construction products based on risks and overseeing the sharing of such information.

The act has established clear lines of accountability, with duty-holders having to register their properties with the Building Safety Regulator. Relevant safety information must also be shared with regulators and residents, with various stakeholders given access to the golden thread.

Openness and transparency have been prioritised within the act, with owners expected to maintain the golden thread through the sharing of safety assessments, complaint procedures, and other vital data. It has also established improved means of consulting with building occupants, ensuring that their concerns are shared for the maintenance of optimum safety standards.

What next for the Building Safety Act?

The Building Safety Act has been rolled out gradually, with regular reviews and updates being made over time. Transitional arrangements for high-rise buildings will come to an end over the coming months, with the deadline also passing for the registration of Building Control Approvers and Building Inspectors.

The Professional Conduct Rules for Registered Building Control Approvers (RBCAs) and Code of Conduct for Registered Building Inspectors (RBIs) will come into force. Additionally, the Building Safety Regulator will have the authority to issue building assessment certificates, where there is sufficient evidence that risks, roles, and responsibilities have been understood and met.

The UK government has agreed on the need to levy specific residential buildings for the generation of finance to spend on building safety. However, Propertymark has suggested that this levy should be set at different rates as a reflection of local authority boundaries and land values.

This is in addition to the estimated commitment of £2bn or more by England’s property developers for the repair of buildings that have been constructed or refurbished over the last 30 years under the Responsible Actors Scheme.

The BSR has also set out its three-year plan, intending to achieve these aims before or during 2026:

  • Completing the assessment of about 40% of occupied higher-risk buildings (representing 65% of residential properties)
  • Beginning or completing any work on the remediation of dangerous cladding, with actions being taken in instances of non-compliance
  • Completing a cost-benefit analysis of making regular inspections of the condition of electrical installations in relevant buildings to improve the safety of persons in or about relevant buildings, emergency egress of disabled persons from relevant buildings, and automatic water fire suppression systems in relevant buildings.
  • Developing a balanced scorecard for the measurement of effectiveness in meeting building safety objectives
  • Setting targets against key performance indicators.

Given the increased scrutiny, the Building Safety Act is bound to be at the forefront of priorities for property developers, investors, and building managers. Stay on the right side of compliance and support increased confidence in the UK's building sector with Property Inspect. Sign up for a free trial of our inspection software today.

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