14 July 2023 by Cansu Iscan

Building Safety Act 2022 – Higher Risk Buildings

The Building Safety Act promises ‘ground-breaking’ reforms to give certain leaseholders more rights, powers and protections for cladding and fire-related remediation works.

The Act creates three new bodies: the Building Safety Regulator, the National Regulator of Construction Products and the New Homes Ombudsman.

Owners (or the ‘Principal Accountable Person’) of higher-risk buildings in England will be required to register with the new Building Safety Regulator by 30 September 2023. This requirement applies to both existing and new-build high risk buildings and each of these will have their own separate requirements.

Which buildings are considered ‘higher risk’?

  • Over 18 metres or seven storeys (from ground level).
  • Contains at least two residential units.
  • Excludes hotels, hospitals, care homes, secure residential institutions, and military barracks.

Who is the Principal Accountable Person?

An accountable person is a party that owns, or has a legal obligation to repair, any common parts of the building. This could be a freeholder or estate owner, management company, right to manage company, resident management company or commonhold association.

If there are multiple accountable persons for a building, the accountable person responsible for repairing the exterior and structure of the building will be recognised as the Principal Accountable Person.

Whilst the registration obligation sits with the Principal Accountable Person, every accountable person has an obligation to work together and share safety information about the building.

Existing Buildings

The fee to register each building is £251 and, once the Principal Accountable Person has submitted their registration application, the Building Safety Regulator will review the details so that it can be satisfied the building should appear in the register.

Once registered, the Principal Accountable Person will have significant ongoing obligations in relation to safety in their high-rise residential buildings.

New Builds

For higher risk buildings which are under construction or for proposed developments, the Principal Accountable Person will need to obtain a completion certificate before they can apply to register the building with the Building Safety Regulator. Until the building registration has been actioned, the building must remain unoccupied.

With less than three months to go, it is important to note that failure to make the relevant applications before 1 October 2023 is a criminal offence!

More information on the Building Safety Act can be found here.

More than ever, it is important to have a good conveyancer. At Bolt Burdon, whether you are a first-time buyer or developer, our specialist New Build team will apply the law in practical ways and think outside the box to achieve a satisfactory sale or purchase for you.

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