In accordance with Part 4 of the Building Safety Act 2022 (the “BSA”), which imposes a more stringent safety regime on buildings defined as “higher-risk buildings”, the Government has issued the Building Safety (Registration of Higher-Risk Buildings and Review of Decisions) (England) Regulations 2023 (the “Registration Regulations”). Broadly speaking, a higher-risk building is a building that is at least 18 metres in height (or is more than seven storeys) and which contains at least two residential units.
The Registration Regulations come into force on 6 April 2023 and require all higher-risk buildings to be registered with the new Building Safety Regulator on or before 30 September 2023.
An application for registration must be supported by registration information, which will include details about contact information for each accountable person (“AP”) for that building, a description of the building and information in relation to building control approvals for that building. There will also be a £251 registration fee payable at the time the application is made.
In the event of any changes to the registration information after the building is registered, the principal accountable person (“PAP”) must notify the Building Safety Regulator within 14 days from the date the PAP becomes aware of the change.
Key building information
In parallel to the Registration Regulations, a further set of supplementary regulations, the Higher-Risk (Key Buildings Information etc) (England) Regulations 2023 (the "Building Information Regulations"), have also been introduced and these also come into force on 6 April 2023. The Building Information Regulations impose a separate duty on the PAP to provide key building information to the Building Safety Regulator within 28 days of an application for registration.
For the purposes of the Building Information Regulations, key building information includes:
- Details of any ancillary buildings to the higher-risk building;
- The use of the higher-risk building and, if applicable, the use of the ancillary building, outbuilding or lower storeys;
- A description of fixtures and materials used throughout the building, such as on the roof and external walls;
- Information on the storeys and staircases within the higher-risk building;
- Details of the type of energy supply and energy storage system; and
- A description of the evacuation strategy and details of the fire and smoke control equipment.
Once registered, the Building Information Regulations impose an ongoing obligation on the PAP to notify the Building Safety Regulator of any change to the key building information within 28 days of the PAP becoming aware of the change.
In circumstances where, for example, there is a higher-risk building with more than one AP, or where the AP is a commonhold association, the Building Information Regulations clarify the allocation of responsibility and the information required in relation to different parts of the building.
Burges Salmon comment
A Government consultation in relation to higher-risk buildings (here) estimated that there are currently between 12,500 and 13,000 occupied buildings within England which fall within the meaning of higher-risk buildings and which will therefore be subject to the new regime.
It is essential that the APs and/or PAPs for existing, occupied higher-risk buildings quickly get to grips with the significant new obligations imposed on them, particularly given that the Building Safety Regulator has indicated that relevant APs and PAPs will only be given 6 months from the date that the Registration Regulations come in to force to make an application for registration and that those "who fail to comply by October 2023 will be investigated and may face prosecution" (see here). Failure to comply with the registration requirements risks fines and/or imprisonment.
Developers, designers, contractors and others should also have the Registration Regulations and Building Information Regulations in mind when carrying out the design, construction and commissioning of new higher-risk buildings to ensure that the necessary information can be passed to the relevant AP and/or PAP as part of the 'golden thread' information to be provided in order that the AP and/or PAP can satisfy their obligations under these new regulations.
The complete regulations can be viewed here:
- The Building Safety (Registration of Higher-Risk Buildings and Review of Decisions) (England) Regulations 2023 (legislation.gov.uk)
- The Higher-Risk Buildings (Key Building Information etc.) (England) Regulations 2023 (legislation.gov.uk)
If you would like any advice in relation to the above regulations, or building safety more generally, please contact Tom Weld.