Building Safety Act 2022: what changes for construction from today?

0

Just over five years after the Grenfell disaster, which killed 72 people, the Building Safety Act 2022 comes into force today – with the ambition to tighten regulation in the UK’s built environment.

While much remains to be decided through secondary legislation and guidance, which will be released over the coming months and years, primary legislation will offer greater protection to tenants and shake up building rules.

Building News looks back on the major changes that will affect the sector.

All new regulator

One of the most significant features of the act is its responsibility to launch a new Building Safety Regulator (BSR).

The watchdog, which will be overseen by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), will “enforce a new, stricter regulatory regime” on the safety and performance of “high-rise” buildings in England.

The coming rules will ensure proportionate action is taken to address building safety risks through “prevention, control, mitigation and ongoing management” throughout a building’s life cycle.

The BSR will be led by Chief HSE Inspector Peter Baker, who will be responsible for the assembly and direction of the body. His appointment was announced in February.

It will also consult and respond to safety concerns raised by residents through a new residents’ panel.

High-rise buildings are those that are at least 18 meters in height, or at least seven stories, and have a minimum of two residential units. This also applies to nursing homes and hospitals that meet the same height threshold.

But MPs have recently criticized this element of the law, calling the threshold “completely arbitrary”.

Building Products Regulator

A new regulator for construction products will also implement tougher standards for construction manufacturers in the UK.

Sitting within the Office for Product Safety and Standards, the National Building Products Regulator will carry out market surveillance to spot and remove unsafe materials more quickly – and it will carry out and commission its own product tests to investigate on non-compliance.

The watchdog will also have the power to “confront bad practice” and take action against those who break the rules. This includes the ability to enter, inspect and search premises, or demand the removal of products from the market.

The power to impose fines will be given to the new body, which will review all products, old and new, as well as future products that are not yet available.

In the Hackitt report, it was recommended that the government ensure there is “more effective enforcement, compliant investigation and market surveillance” to cover construction product safety.

Make the industry pay

From today the Government will be able to restrict the ability of irresponsible developers to build new homes – including if they refuse to take responsibility for fixing vital fire safety flaws on buildings over 11 meters .

The building security tax will also be extended, charging all new residential buildings. The move is expected to bring in around £3billion over 10 years and will fund the removal of hazardous coatings on buildings 11 to 18 meters where the developer cannot be found or must agree to cover the costs in advance.

The law will also allow building owners to take legal action against developers, contractors and manufacturers for poor construction work and faulty products that have made homes uninhabitable for the past 30 years.

Tenant protections

For the first time, eligible tenants living in buildings over 11 meters in height or at least five stories high will be legally protected from exorbitant building security costs. Measures include:

  • Eligible tenants will be protected from the costs associated with remediating unsafe flooring;
  • It will be illegal for freehold owners to pass on the cost of repairs to historic buildings or removal of cladding to any of their lessees;
  • Freeholders will not be able to pass on historic building security costs to eligible tenants if they pass the statutory wealth test; and
  • Buyers of new homes will be able to hold their developer accountable for safety and quality issues under a new New Home Ombudsman program.

Commenting on the introduction of the law today, Upgrade Secretary Michael Gove said: ‘Today marks a major turning point for building safety in this country, as we introduce a tough new regime to make safe houses and help rid the sector of bad practices. once for all.

“Hundreds of thousands of innocent tenants now have the legal protection they rightly deserve, freeing them from a financial burden they never should have faced.

“I’m glad most of the top developers have agreed to play their part in solving this problem. But there is more to do. We are intensely focused on working with lenders to unlock the mortgage market and allow tenants to take the next step on the property ladder, and we will remain vigilant if anyone fails to deliver on the promises they have made. .

Find a copy of the Building Safety Act 2022 here.

Learn more about the Building Safety Act: Navigate Building Liability Orders and It’s time to check your new Building Safety Act obligations.

Share.

Comments are closed.