The Building Safety Bill yesterday received Royal Assent, and is now an Act of Parliament, however according to commentators the measures taken in the wake of Grenfell require a large amount of work in order to be fully implemented.
The Act overhauls the regulatory regime for ‘higher risk’ buildings in England, and brings in numerous other changes affecting construction products regulation, competency standards, management of building fire safety risks, and other liabilities.
Peter Baker, who is leading the newly established Building Safety Regulator as established under the Act, commented: “The Building Safety Act introduces tough new measures for the safety and quality of buildings which will be enforced by the new independent regulator being established in HSE.”
The Government has introduced a programme of transition for the industry, but according to lawyer Carolyn Davies at Charles Russell Speechlys, “this may well be updated now that the Act is law.” HSE has already stated that the registration of high-rise buildings will be starting from April 2023, and new safety management regime requirements will apply from October 2023, however, said Davies, “No doubt further dates for other changes will soon be released.”
She added that developers will now need to “look at how they procure higher risk projects and what effect the Act will have on these developments and their obligations. Similarly, contractors and consultants need to understand their additional obligations not only on higher risk developments, but also on building projects generally where they will hold specific duties.”
“All construction stakeholders (including manufacturers and suppliers) need to understand the full extent of the changes coming, and appreciate now what actions and business investment are required in order to ensure compliance with the new regime, and act now or risk being caught short.”