The Building Safety Act passed into Law in April 2022 and it brings into being a new Regulator – The Building Safety Regulator will help to deliver the two underlying objectives of the Act, namely securing the safety of people in and around buildings in relation to risks from buildings and improving building standards.

Contrary to popular belief, the The Building Safety Regulator has a wider remit than High Rise High Risk Buildings and is tasked to:

  • implement a new, more stringent regulatory regime for high-rise buildings in England
    • being the building control authority in England for building work on high-rise buildings
    • overseeing and enforcing the new regime in occupation of high-rise buildings
  • oversee the safety and performance of all buildings. This has two aspects:
    • overseeing the performance of other building control bodies (local authorities and registered building control approvers (currently known as approved inspectors))
    • understanding and advising on existing and emerging building standards and safety risks
  • promote competence among industry professionals and regulators to raise standards in the design, construction, and management of buildings

The Regulator will be part of the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) and so the mechanisms and enforcement approach will be familiar to the construction sector already immersed in compliance with CDM.

In a new Factsheet the Building Safety Regulator starts to outline how they imagine this will work in practice, starting with the clear principle (akin to that in CDM) that the person or entity that creates, or is responsible for, a building safety risk should be responsible for preventing, managing, and controlling that risk. This includes building designers, who have a responsibility to design a building that complies with relevant building regulations.

Regulatory intervention will be targeted on activities where there is high actual or potential harm arising from any breach. In judging how far dutyholders have taken steps to reduce or mitigate safety risks, the Building Safety Regulator will balance the degree of risk against the money, time or trouble needed to avert that risk in the particular circumstances, as well as the impact of any action on businesses and residents.

The Building Safety Regulator will expect that dutyholders, in turn, will adopt a sensible and proportionate approach to managing safety, focusing on significant risks.

It is intended that the Building Safety Regulator will employ a variety of methods to encourage and support dutyholders to meet the requirements of relevant Building Regulations and to manage fire and structural risks in buildings in a sensible and proportionate way. This reflects the aims in chapter 8 of the document: A reformed building safety regulatory system: government response to the Building a Safer Future consultation, published by MHCLG in April 2020.

The appropriate and proportionate use of enforcement powers, regulatory tools, and sanctions by the Building Safety Regulator will be set out in a published Enforcement Policy Statement (EPS) in due course.

For further information about the Building Safety Act, including an outline summary of what it all means to the finishes and interiors sector, click here

For further information from the HSE on how they will be supporting compliance and enforcing in the event of non-compliance click here.