October 5, 2020
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The Government published a draft Building Safety Bill on 20th July. This is a large and complex document and has been published as a draft in order to allow initial scrutiny before it is introduced to Parliament.

The Bill creates a new Building Safety Regulator which is being established by the HSE and will oversee the safe design, construction and occupation of high-risk buildings. It will be independent and give expert advice to local regulators, landlords and building owners, the construction and building design industry, and to residents.

The Building Safety Regulator will have powers to prosecute offences and will be able to issue compliance (requiring action to be taken) and stop (requiring work to halt until an issue is addressed) notices. Failure to comply with compliance and stop notices will be a criminal offence, with a maximum penalty of up to two years in prison and an unlimited fine. Where an offence is committed by a corporate body with the consent or connivance of a director, manager etc, or is attributable to their neglect, that person will also be liable to be prosecuted

The Bill makes various changes to existing Building legislation and makes specific requirements for higher risk buildings.

The more stringent regulatory regime for higher-risk residential buildings will include:
• The introduction of dutyholders who will have accountability and statutory responsibilities for managing risks across the design, construction, and occupation of buildings on an ongoing basis
• Gateway points (stop/go decision points) which will provide rigorous inspection of regulatory requirements to help ensure building safety risks are considered during planning, design and construction
• Requiring a ‘golden thread’ of building information to be created, stored and updated through the Gateway process and throughout the building’s lifecycle. And requiring mandatory reporting to the new Building Safety Regulator of fire and structural safety occurrences which could cause a significant risk to life safety
• Building registration and a certificate that confirms a building is fit for occupation and provides transparency on the assessment and findings at the time of certification. This certificate to be periodically reviewed
• Creating an ongoing duty on the Accountable Person (who is the dutyholder in occupation). This duty will be to assess building safety risks, taking all reasonable steps to prevent the occurrence of a major incident in the building as a result of these risks
• A statutory requirement for the Accountable Person to provide a ‘Safety Case Report’ which demonstrates how building safety risks are being identified, mitigated and managed on an ongoing basis
• Requiring the Accountable Person to appoint a competent Building Safety Manager to support them in managing fire and structural safety risks in the building day-to-day
• Requirements to engage and develop a strong partnership with residents to keep the building safe through greater transparency and effective complaints handling

The draft bill and further information can be found on the Gov.UK website at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/draft-building-safety-bill

Please speak to your normal PIB Risk management contact or get in touch using [email protected] if you have any questions about managing building safety or would like to arrange a fire risk assessment for your premises.