High Rise Building Safety Cases and Costs

June 12, 2024
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The Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities (DLUHC) and the HSE have produced a joint open letter to building managers and owners in relation to the service charges levied on leaseholders associated with building safety compliance.

As part of recent requirements, any high-rise residential building must have an accountable person prepare a safety case for the building and then provide this to the Building Safety Regulator. The letter points to concerns over the cost and type of documentation that is required to create a safety case for a building, with particular concern that unacceptably high charges are being charged for the production of safety case reports.

The letter identifies that many building owners and managers believe they are required to initiate new assessments for all aspects of the building required for the safety case, including activities such as fire engineering and building surveys. Much of the information required should already be available. It is recommended that existing assessments be used where practical in order to keep leaseholder service charges at a reasonable rate.

Additionally, any service charge should be reasonable and communicated clearly and effectively to leaseholders, as required by law. As the letter states, ‘Leaseholders should be able to understand what they are being charged for, why, how much it will cost, and how long the work is expected to take’. The cost of any safety case should be justified by how far it prevents the spread of fire and structural failure.

The DLUHC and HSE end the letter by stating that they will ‘continue to monitor very closely the actions of those within this sector, and should we see evidence of inappropriate behaviour, we will not hesitate to call it out publicly in the future’.

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