Building Safety Act:  New guidance on change control

Building Safety Act: New guidance on change control

This latest guidance from the Building Safety Regulator provides more information on expectations for managing the scenario where the Building Safety Regulator (BSR) has approved your building control approval application.  It focuses on how you:

  • make a change control application for major changes to the proposed work
  • tell BSR about notifiable changes

This guidance applies to higher risk buildings, but should also be considered useful guidance for managing changes to all regulated construction works.

It recommends that for each change, a brief description of the change and why you consider it to be a major or notifiable change is included in the information pack.

It is vital to advice the BSR:

  • why you are making the change, for example, change of design approach or availability of materials
  • all the advice you sought, even if it disagrees with your proposal
  • who gave the advice, their occupation and contact details
  • which documents the change affects

You can read the full guidance note on the Government website here.

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Update from the Building Safety Regulator and Building Control on new regulatory framework

Update from the Building Safety Regulator and Building Control on new regulatory framework

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 info@thefis.org and we’ll get back to you asap.

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Building Inspectors Extension

Building Inspectors Extension

HSE Director of Building Safety, Philip White, has officially announced in a public letter to the industry an extension to the deadline for experienced Building Inspectors in England to finish their competence assessment. Qualified Building Inspectors must meet the following criteria and will now have until July 6 to complete their assessment:

  • Current Building Inspectors
  • Register as a Class 1 Registered Building Inspector (RBI) by April 6
  • Undergoing competency assessment by an approved scheme by April 6
  • Not informed by an approved scheme of failing the competency assessment twice

Building Inspectors meeting these conditions can continue their building control duties for the RBI class they are assessed for until July 6, by which they must upgrade their registration to Class 2, 3, or 4. The transitional arrangements are now part of the Code of Conduct for RBIs, and as of March 14, 3,261 Building Inspectors had applied for registration.

The Welsh Government has stated that Building Inspectors in Wales must register by April 6 and now have until September 30 to complete their registration.

Government confirms plans to permanently remove RAAC from all schools and colleges in England

Government confirms plans to permanently remove RAAC from all schools and colleges in England

Measures to permanently remove Reinforced Autoclaved Aerated Concrete (RAAC) from all affected schools and colleges, have been confirmed this week by the government. A final list of schools and colleges with confirmed cases of RAAC in schools and colleges in England has also been published. There are 234 education settings, out of 22,000, with confirmed RAAC in some areas of their buildings – around 1%. Click here to read more.
Building Safety Regulator Strategic Plan

Building Safety Regulator Strategic Plan

The Building Safety Regulator (BSR) has published its first strategic plan, setting out how it will carry out its building safety functions through to March 2026. With a vision to “create a built environment where everyone is competent and takes responsibility to ensure buildings are of high quality and are safe”, the plan includes an ambitious roadmap outlining a wide‐ranging programme of activity for the next three years:

  • Year one (April 2023 ‐ March 2024) ‐ Implementation of the new regime, including ensuring dutyholders are aware of their responsibilities and publishing a register of Higher‐Risk Buildings (HRBs)
  • Year two (April 2024 ‐ March 2025) ‐ Consolidation of the regime, including establishing the regulated building control profession and assessing 20% of occupied HRBs, prioritising those with un‐remediated ACM cladding
  • Year three (April 2025 ‐ March 2026) ‐ Operation of the regime on a ‘steady state’ basis, whilst reviewing the effectiveness of the BSR and setting its strategy for the next three years.

The BSR has also published its Enforcement Policy setting out where it will take action in the event of non‐compliance. Philip White, the HSE’s Director of Building Safety, has been appointed to lead the BSR on a permanent basis, which will include performing the duties of the Chief Inspector of Buildings.

Update on Building Regulations and Resources

Update on Building Regulations and Resources

The Higher-Risk Buildings (Keeping and Provision of Information etc.) (England) Regulations 2023, which outline the requirements for the Golden Thread of information and Mandatory Occurrence Reporting, have been presented to Parliament for approval. 

The government has released remediation data for all programs supporting residential buildings over 11 meters in England with hazardous cladding. This is the first time such information has been made public and is intended to demonstrate the progress achieved.

The Building Safety Regulator’s webinar series is now available on-demand and aimed at assisting duty holders in understanding the new system, including the building control system and Planning Gateway One. If they have not already done so, members must register to view the videos.