The regulatory team at Anthony Collins has been paying close attention to developments in building safety law, most notably under the Building Safety Act 2022 (the Act) and the Higher-Risk Buildings (Descriptions and Supplementary Provisions) Regulations 2023 (the Regulations). More of our blog posts on building safety can be found here.

As part of the new building safety regime, all existing higher-risk buildings, (HRBs) will need to be registered with the Building Safety Regulator (BSR) by 30 September 2023. From 1 October 2023, it will be an offence to allow residents to occupy an unregistered HRB, and new HRBs completed on or after 1 October 2023 must have the relevant completion certificate/final notice and be registered before they are occupied by residents.

Providers must ensure that they understand the criteria for what qualifies as an HRB to ensure any relevant buildings are registered before the deadline. An HRB is defined as having at least two residential units and being 18 metres or over in height, or as having at least seven storeys. However, evaluating whether a building meets these criteria is not always clear. In addition, providers may need to apply to register two or more high-rise residential structures as one building if they’re connected in certain ways.

The BSR has therefore issued guidance on the criteria for HRBs, alongside a glossary of key terms to help interpret such guidance. This is to assist potential principal accountable persons/accountable persons in determining if they are responsible for an HRB (or part of one). This includes guidance on identifying a building’s use and the legal definition of a building. The guidance also provides clarification on how to calculate the height and storeys of a building using the methods stipulated under the Regulations. Further explanations and diagrams have been included to provide visual aids in calculating a building’s height.

In addition, providers will need to disclose to the Regulator extensive information on a building’s structure and fire safety, known as 'key building information', including but not limited to when a building was built, the building structure and building work completed since the original build. A provider’s building may also be subject to other legislation, such as the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005, which should be considered alongside the obligations above.

For more legal advice on the new regime or other health and safety related matters, please contact a member of the regulatory team.