The key areas covered were:
- New dutyholder and competence requirements on all building work and additional duties for those working on higher-risk buildings. These new roles and requirements aim to ensure a stronger focus on compliance with the regulations
- A series of robust hard stops (“gateway points”) to strengthen regulatory oversight before a higher-risk building is occupied
- The approach to Regulator’s notices to support building projects which comprise both higher-risk building work and non-higher risk building work
- Stronger change control during the construction of higher-risk buildings
- Additional requirements for building work carried out in existing higher-risk building work e.g. refurbishments
- The process of certifying building work that have been carried out without building regulations approval (regularisation)
- Establishing greater record keeping and management in higher-risk buildings (golden thread of information)
- A mandatory occurrence reporting system in higher-risk buildings
- More rigorous enforcement powers for building work in all buildings to focus incentives on the creation of reliably safe buildings from the outset and the approach taken to the review and appeal of building control decisions
- Wider changes to the building regulations to align the existing system with the new system
- The transitional provisions for changing to the new higher-risk building regime
FIS responded to 11 of the 12 consultation areas. In the response FIS raised concerns about some of the timings associated with the Building Control Approval Process and particularly the impact of decision times in the hard-stop gateways. The FIS also called for support from Government to ensure consideration as to how this will be managed in the standard form contracts, particularly in the initial periods as the process develops and becomes more efficient. The FIS also noted that the Regulator needs to be prepared to provide quick and clear determination of issues and agile guidance is required to support the transition period.
FIS repeated throughout the response that procurement needs to change and there should be checks and balances through the supply chain to assess the practicality of delivery and ensuring that time and resources is available.
FIS was supportive of Mandatory Reporting requirements, but noted the importance of clarity and potentially the need for anonymity in the process. The organisation also some concerns around proportionality related to historic prosections and impact on future supply chains.
The final note of caution was around competence and the need to manage the transition to the new era of proving competence as the infrastructure to support evolves.
Commenting on the consultation FIS CEO Iain McIlwee stated:
“Reading through this gives real insight into how much the construction process is going to change and how much resources is going to be required to support it. This is not just about High Rise Buildings, but in this consultation we see profound change to the entire process and findings from our research into procurement and tender processes were very relevant – this is more about setting up than signing off. The direction of travel is something we can applaud and we agreed with the vast majority of the statements in the consultation, where we have advised caution is largely around ensuring that we don’t tie ourselves in buerecratic knots and we deliver a streamlined compliance regime that is resourced to enforce – at the end of the day good legislation with bad enforcement is perhaps the worst of all worlds. We have also emphasised in the transition period the regulators are going to need to work closely with the industry – the delays could criple companies and guidance needs to be agile as it is a complex process and the early guidance will be tested. We don’t want to be stepping over the bodies of those that were first to the breach as we step forward into a better lanscape for construction!”
If you wish to see a full copy of the FIS Consultation response, email email@example.com
For more information on the Buidling Safety Act, click here – this is a regular item at all upcoming FIS Regional Events and Working Groups and you can quiz FIS staff and external experts.