On 14 March 2023, the UK Government published a further partial response to certain sections of its consultation on the new safety regime for occupied higher-risk buildings (HRBs) under the Building Safety Act 2022 (BSA). This response addressed the registration section of the consultation.
Alongside the response, the draft Building Safety (Registration of Higher-Risk Buildings and Review of Decisions) (England) Regulations 2023 have been laid before Parliament. These provide further detail on the information that must be submitted to the Building Safety Regulator (BSR) together with an application for registration of a higher-risk building.
If approved, they will come into force on 6 April 2023 – allowing registration of occupied HRBs to commence from that date. As we recently reported, the deadline for registration of existing occupied HRBs will be October 2023.
What are higher-risk buildings and when will they be occupied?
As we reported in our recent insight, the definition of HRBs in England has now been confirmed: during the occupation phase, this refers to buildings that are at least 18m in height or have at least seven storeys, and contain at least two residential units.
A HRB will be occupied as soon as there are residents of more than one residential unit in the building. This is a low threshold: if a building has many residential units which are built but unoccupied, the BSA, and the requirement to register the HRB with the BSR, will apply once more than one residential unit is occupied.
The Building Safety (Registration of Higher-Risk Buildings and Review of Decisions) (England) Regulations 2023
The draft Building Safety (Registration of Higher-Risk Buildings and Review of Decisions) (England) Regulations 2023 prescribe the information that must be contained within an application to register a HRB. This includes:
- details relating to each of the Accountable Persons (AP) for the building (Regulation 11);
- confirmation of who is the Principal Accountable Person (PAP) and details relating to the PAP (Regulations 12 and 13);
- details of the person making the application on behalf of the PAP (Regulation 14) or if this is not an individual, the name and address of the individual who will act as the single point of contact for the PAP for the purposes of the registration application (Regulation 15);
- description of the HRB including its height, number of storeys and year of completion; and
- the registration fee of £251.
Owners and managers of HRBs which are already built and occupied should start gathering together the information needed in order to effect the registration of their HRB before the October deadline. In addition to the information required under the latest regulations to be supplied at the point of registration, further key building information will need to be submitted within 28 days of an application for registration of an HRB. Our recent insight (Building safety: What key building information needs to be provided for occupied higher-risk buildings?) provides further detail on this.
If you need any help in ascertaining the identity of the Accountable Person and Principal Accountable Person for your building, please contact us.
What about HRBs that are not yet fully built and occupied?
For HRBs built under the new regime governing design and construction – which is yet to come into force and on which further secondary legislation is expected imminently – as well as the matters above, the application will also need to provide the "unique reference number" that will be assigned by the Regulator to each HRB whose construction it is overseeing.
HRBs on which construction has started but has not been completed before the new regime comes into effect will be subject to transitional arrangements. Such HRBs will not, of course, be built to the requirements of the new, more stringent regime, but to the building regulations standards in place at the time of the submission of their plans to the relevant building control body/local authority.
Accordingly, to enable the BSR to verify that the building control body overseeing the building is satisfied that it complies with the requirements of building regulations, the application must include a copy of the completion or final certificate as well as the name of the relevant building control body.
Can the Regulator refuse to register a HRB?
The BSA also allows for a right of review of certain decisions made by the BSR. The Building Safety (Registration of Higher-Risk Buildings and Review of Decisions) (England) Regulations 2023 prescribe the type of decisions that can be the subject of a review, including decisions:
- not to register a HRB further to an application;
- to remove/refuse to remove a HRB from the register;
- to refuse application for a building assessment certificate; and
- to give a direction for assessment of building safety risks under the BSA.
Why is this important?
The 2018 Independent Review of Building Regulations and Fire Safety identified the need, following the Grenfell Tower tragedy, for a clearly defined duty-holder who can be held to account and will have statutory obligations for ensuring that fire and structural safety is being effectively managed in occupied HRBs. To date, however, there is no single database or register of HRBs in England and therefore no means of identifying who is responsible for fire and structural safety in respect of such buildings. The Building Safety Act 2022, together with the secondary legislation that is now starting to take shape, is set to remedy this.
If you have any queries on this article, please get in touch with Sue Ryan, Gemma Whittaker or Sean Garbutt.