In response to the Grenfell Tower tragedy, the government have introduced two new Acts of parliament. These are the Fire Safety Act and the Building Safety Act 2022. They will become law from 23rd January 2023. Therefore this gives building owners, housing associations and councils around six months to ensure they comply with the new laws.
The new regulations create new duties for the Accountable Persons in all multi-occupied residential buildings. The height of the building dictates the specific actions required. Some regulations apply to all residential buildings irrespective of height, then there are additional requirements for buildings over 11m. In addition, there are further requirements for ‘high-rise’ buildings of 18m (or 7 storeys) and above.
The new rules do not aim to bring existing buildings in line with the current standards. For many buildings, it was deemed this would be ‘ineffective, impractical and financially unviable’. However, the new legislation will ensure proportionate measures are in place for each building to mitigate and manage risks, delivering safer outcomes for residents.
The Safety Case Report
The Principal Accountable Person is responsible for ensuring a Safety Case Report is completed for their building. Following on, it must be updated when necessary and submitted to the Building Safety Regulator for assessment.
Building safety risks must be identified and assessed by the Accountable Persons to build a Safety Case. Those risks should be reduced and controlled to a proportionate level on an ongoing basis.
The Safety Case Report is a summary of the steps Accountable Persons (APs) have taken to identify, assess, remove, reduce, and manage building safety risks. Thus, APs must demonstrate that reasonable and proportionate steps have been taken.
If you are responsible for the management of a multi-occupied residential building and would like health and safety support contact me. I focus Kent and London H&S advice and support. In addition, I have health and safety consultant colleagues who can visit you, wherever you are in the UK.