FIS attended a Building Safety meeting earlier this week organised by BuildUK where Andrew Moore, Head of Operations Planning and Building Control at the Building Safety Regulator (BSR), and Martin Taylor, Executive Director at Local Authority Building Control (LABC), gave a unique insight into the latest phase of the Building Safety Regime from 6 April.  Key points raised were that:

  • The vast majority of Gateway 2 applications are for refurbishment and there are more small scale works in HRB’s than the regulator was anticipating.
  • When applying for Building Control Approval, the Building Regulations compliance statement needs to contain a clear ‘narrative’ setting out how the e planned work will meet Building Regulations, including the guidance or standards used.
  • Local Authority Building Control (LABC) is no longer able to provide pre‐planning advice in relation to applications for Higher‐Risk Building (HRB) projects where it would create a conflict with its role in providing building control services; however, it is anticipated that LABC will continue to signpost to best practice guidance.
  • The role of Principal Designer should be undertaken by a lead designer who has authority over design decisions and is able to co‐ordinate the design work and challenge the design team to ensure all designs comply with relevant Building Regulations. In the event of a change in Principal Designer, there is a formal handover process within the regulations (section 11O) that must be followed.
  • There is a need to clarify the requirements for hospitals and care homes at different stages of the HRB regime, for example whether Gateway Three approval is required before wards can be reoccupied after refurbishment work.

In a separate meeting with representatives of Building Control and the Design Sector, FIS were involved in discussions focussed on challenges in the design process.  Confusions around the difference between offering design advice and being classified as a designer remain.  It is critical that companies are clear on the extent of any design liability and adhere to the design control process when making decisions (beware the site fix).  The other key part of the discussion was around what is Regulated Works and therefore when work in a HRB needs to be notified to the Building Safety Regulator and challenges around partial completion strategies that support phased occupation.

Other Building Safety News
In a written statement to Parliament last week, Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities Michael Gove confirmed that the new guidance on second staircases, which is intended to “provide additional capacity to reduce congestion, support egress and facilitate additional access for firefighting and rescue”, will apply nationally.

If you have any questions around the Building Safety Act, don’t hesitate to call FIS on 0121 707 0077 or email and we’ll get back to you asap.

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