The Building Safety Act received Royal Assent on 28th April and was announced on 10th May 2022 in the Queens Speech. It brings in major changes for owners, developers, designers and constructors of Higher risk residential buildings across the UK to make sure that the building is safe to occupy and live in.
Graham Taylor, Technical Director & Partner of Shirley Parsons Project Services, gives his view on the Act and what it means to the HSEQ community.
“Although enacted last month, there is a phased implementation period of about 18 months during which time secondary legislation will be changed and the defects liability periods extended to 15 years for new buildings. Enforcement of the Act will not commence until Q2/3 of 2023.”
The impact of the changes will be most felt by the owners of higher risk buildings, typically residential buildings over 18m high as well as low rise buildings with vulnerable residents such as care homes.
The Act establishes a building regulator, the HSE, and introduces a number of statutory duties including the nomination of the “responsible person” gateway approval processes, the chain of information referred to as the Golden Thread, regulation of safety related building materials etc. culminating in the Regulator approval of the building safety case and certification of the building as being safe to occupy prior to anyone moving in.
In Graham’s view, while the Act has “Safety” in the title, it is actually Quality Management that needs to be prioritised by developers, designers and constructors of buildings.
“Whilst the objective of the Act is a build and operate of a higher risk building that is demonstrably safe to live in, this can only be achieved by robust and effective Quality Management throughout the building’s lifecycle, including renovation and refurbishment.”
Shirley Parsons Project Services provides expert quality management and safety consultancy throughout the construction sector.