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As the date of 6th April looms ever closer, the focus of the Building Safety Regulator [BSR] will begin to turn to the next stage in the implementation of the new building safety regime as set out in the Building Safety Act and associated secondary legislation.

The deadline to register an existing higher risk building [HRB] with the regulator, and submit the required key building information, passed in October last year and, from 6th April this year, the BSR will begin to call in buildings for assessment.

In order to apply for and obtain a Building Assessment Certificate, the Accountable Person, that is the dutyholder for occupied HRB’s, must submit three key pieces of information.

  • A Safety Case Report
  • A Residents Engagement Strategy
  • A framework and process for reporting mandatory occurrences

Based on this information the BSR will assess the building and, if satisfied, issue a Building Assessment Certificate, which must be displayed. Failure to do so is an offence under the Act. In their Strategic Plan published last year, the BSR has predicted that it will take around five years to assess all existing buildings for the first time, alongside any new buildings that come into scope in the same period.

So they have placed buildings into five annual groups based on height and number of dwellings, so the tallest buildings with the greatest number of dwellings will be assessed first.

They have also said that buildings with un-remediated aluminium composite material (ACM) cladding will be assessed in the first year, regardless of height or number of dwellings.

If you are the Accountable Person you need to act now to;

  • identify and assess building safety risks and take all reasonable steps to ensure those risks are mitigated and controlled,
  • ensure that residents are engaged and informed, and
  • put in place a process to capture and report mandatory safety occurrences that have or could occur.

This last point is worth highlighting. If an inspection of a building undertaken as part of the safety case report identifies a risk related to fire spread, fire safety or structural failure that could lead to death or serious injury, it needs to be reported to the BSR. Failure to do so is an offence and could lead to enforcement and prosecution.

Paul Nash MSc PPCIOB

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