April 26, 2024

An end to the transitional period of the Building Safety Act 2022

News Article

The construction sector is currently facing the end of the transitional period associated with the Building Safety Act 2022 (referred to as ‘the Act’ from here on), heralding significant changes for all involved in building design, construction, and management. 

The transitional period ended on 6 April this year – unless previous agreements are in place between your business and the relevant authority.  

The Act’s inception traces back to the tragic Grenfell Tower fire and was based on the urgent need for reform in building safety standards and enforcement.  

It is going to overhaul the way the construction industry considers safety, embedding accountability and competence at every level.  

Central to the Act is the establishment of the Building Safety Regulator, the introduction of new roles such as ‘accountable persons’ and ‘dutyholders,’ and the implementation of mandatory occurrence reporting for higher-risk buildings.  

These changes are complemented by strengthened fire safety regulations and the application of a new regulatory regime for higher-risk buildings, aiming to prevent future tragedies and ensure the safety of all building occupants. 

It also updated the Defective Premises Act by lengthening the time limit to bring claims under this act, against whom those claims can be made and sought to strengthen the right to circumvent single purpose vehicle companies as a means to avoid liability for defective works.  

Now that the transition period has ended, what should you be doing? 

With the transition period’s end, the full suite of the Act’s provisions comes into force.  

This marks the cessation of exemptions for certain construction works and demands a comprehensive understanding and application of the new building control regime.  

For ongoing and future projects, this means adhering strictly to the enhanced safety and reporting standards, impacting building design, construction processes, and professional competencies across the sector. 

The Act’s requirements include amongst other things: 

  • Establishment of the Building Safety Regulator: A new regulatory body to oversee building safety and performance. 
  • Introduction of accountable persons and dutyholders: Clear roles with responsibility for safety during building construction and occupation. 
  • Mandatory occurrence reporting: For higher-risk buildings, to capture and assess safety risks. 
  • Strengthened fire safety regulations: Enhancements to the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 to improve cooperation and coordination. 
  • Implementation of a new regulatory regime for higher-risk buildings: Including the application of mandatory codes and standards for building control. 
  • Competence requirements: All individuals and organisations must be competent to ensure compliance with the Building Regulations. 
  • ‘Golden thread’ of information: Maintenance of vital building information throughout the lifecycle of higher-risk buildings. 
  • Gateway system: Mandatory hard-stops during planning, pre-construction, and completion/final certification stages for higher-risk buildings. 
  • Protection for leaseholders: Measures to protect leaseholders from costs related to the remediation of unsafe cladding and other safety defects. 

The construction industry must now navigate these changes, focusing on compliance and a deeper understanding of the regulations.  

This involves a shift in operational and risk management practices, with an emphasis on the competence of professionals involved in building work. 

Looking ahead, the Act is likely going to have a lasting impact on building safety and industry standards.  

The Government and the Building Safety Regulator will continue to monitor its implementation, potentially introducing further updates to legislation to refine and enhance safety measures later on. 

For construction firms, building owners, and professionals, adapting to this new era involves several key steps.  

  • Conducting audits to assess compliance levels 
  • Engaging with regulatory bodies for guidance 
  • And implementing necessary operational changes 

As the transitional period has now concluded, the construction sector stands at a crossroads.  

The Building Safety Act 2022 has provided a path towards enhanced safety and professionalism, demanding diligent preparation and adaptation from all stakeholders.  

The coming years will test the industry’s commitment to these ideals, with the ultimate goal of preventing future tragedies and ensuring the safety of all building occupants. 

If you are worried about your compliance or you’d like more information on the subject, we strongly encourage you to speak with a qualified and experienced construction solicitor. 

Please speak to one of our legal team for help remaining compliant.