We were delighted to welcome almost 200 delegates to our Flagship Building Safety and HRB Conference which took place at the end of last month at which delivered a whistle-stop tour of the latest tranche of detailed regulations that came into force on 1 October 2023 under powers granted in the Building Safety Act 2022 (“BSA”). For more information about this secondary legislation, do have a look at our online Toolkit.
Together with fire safety legislation enacted in the last couple of years, the BSA has ushered in change on a scale not seen in more than a generation. We organised our flagship event to provide invaluable insight to help our clients get their heads around the legislation to ensure they are equipped to embrace the change and in the best position to adapt accordingly.
The conference was a huge success with specialists from across our firm and external speakers shedding indispensable knowledge and practical tips as well as ending the day with a panel of respected experts giving their thoughts on the new framework.
Our Construction, Engineering and Procurement Team has produced a list of Top 10 Takeaways which serve as a summary of the sessions led by our Construction lawyers:
- It is imperative to understand the new Building Regulations dutyholder roles and obligations now in relation to the design and construction of all buildings.
- Procuring and undertaking the construction of ‘higher-risk buildings’ (HRBs) will represent a huge change for the industry; however, the industry will adapt despite the overwhelming scale of change.
- In respect of the three main ‘in-occupation’ dutyholder roles (the Accountable Person, the Principal Accountable Person and the Responsible Person), communication, co-ordination and co-operation are imperative.
- The session we led on the BSA and Development Contracts included a re-assessment of schemes which are becoming unconditional; however, these risks will be managed between parties and partnerships going forward.
- The new Building (Higher-Risk Buildings Procedures) (England) Regulations have introduced a regulatory regime for HRBs that is far more rigorous and structured and is marked by more defined lines of responsibility and more extensive statutory duties when considering the information to be provided to the regulator.
- The ‘Golden Thread’ is without doubt one of the most far-reaching and critical changes introduced, the requirement to gather information as you go; it introduces a discipline and a structure that should ensure the construction of safe buildings and assist dutyholders in meeting their obligations throughout a building’s lifecycle.
- A plethora of new, resident-focused regulators, regulations and requirements have come into action this year, including the Building Safety Regulator, the Tenant Satisfaction Measures Standard, and the New Homes Ombudsman.
- When defining an HRB, the devil is in the detail – what constitutes one ‘building’ during the construction phase can become two or more ‘buildings’ for the purposes of the in-occupation phase duties. It is vital to understand which buildings are caught by the new building safety regime, and during which phases of their development, to avoid inadvertent breaches or wasted costs in unnecessary work.
- In relation to the liability of company directors, corporate boards need to understand the duties that are imposed on them by the BSA to properly scrutinise the information given to them, so that there is a plan for implementation and discharge of the obligations. This is important because any breaches of the BSA will also attach personal liability.
- At first sight, the BSA can be hard to digest; however, as it comes into full effect, we will all continue to learn and adapt to the changes. The important takeaway is to stay informed, ask questions where necessary to ensure full compliance and communicate within your respective organisations.
Thank you for coming to the Conference. We appreciate the day was full of information and that the BSA comes across as overwhelming to digest!
We are, therefore, keen to assist you and to answer any further queries you may have please feel free to contact Mark London, Asif Patel, Michael Wharfe or Kathryn Kligerman.