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Building Safety Bill receives Royal Assent 29/04/2022 Labelled as Legislation

After months of debate and amendments, the Building Safety Bill received Royal Assent on Thursday 28 April 2021. The Bill has completed all the parliamentary stages in both Houses of Parliament and now becomes an Act of Parliament.


The Act contains over 200 pages with 6 parts and 11 schedules and is an important milestone which paves the way for the Health and Safety Executive to establish a new Building Safety Regulator and the introduction of a more rigorous and robust regulatory regime for high-rise buildings in England. Social housing landlords involved in the design, construction and management of buildings in England will need to prepare for the significant changes introduced by the Building Safety Act to better protect tenants and residents of high-rise buildings following the Grenfell fire tragedy.


Those who manage high rise buildings need to start understanding what a "Safety Case" is and examine whether the safety measures in place in their buildings need strengthening to properly protect residents.  


The Act itself is complex and technical, there will be a lot more detail to follow in secondary legislation which has yet to be passed with much more to come over the next 18 months, starting with the registration of high-rise buildings from April 2023 and the new safety management requirements applying from October 2023. 


A number of key changes were made to the Building Safety Bill during its passage through Parliament including the scrapping of a provision in the bill requiring each high-rise blocks to have a dedicated 'building safety manager'. The government's impact assessment showed the role could cost around £60,000 per block annually.


The Act also contains a series of protections for leaseholders including a retrospective right to sue developers for defective works up to 30 years after a home is completed, along with measures to shield leaseholders from costs for cladding works.


The Act brings in new duties on building owners to manage building safety risks, including duties to engage with residents and a duty to produce a Residents' Engagement Strategy setting out how they will create opportunities for resident involvement in decision-making about their building.


In turn, residents will have certain legal obligations to comply with requests for information and to not act in a way that creates safety risks.


The Act also brings in several changes to the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005, so that the building owner identifies a "Responsible Person" and they carry out and record fire risk assessments in full. ARCH has been in discussion with the Home Office and we understand that regulations under the Fire Safety Act which were expected to be published in Autumn 2021 are now expected to be introduced within the next few months, although proposals for Personal Emergency Evacuation Plans (PEEPs) may be subject to further consultation.


Watch out for more information on the Building Safety Act and the regulations under the Fire Safety Act in future editions of the ARCH bulletin.

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