A series of robust hard stops (“gateway points”) to strengthen regulatory oversight before a higher-risk building is occupied

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Closes 12 Oct 2022

Introduction

The Government intends to introduce a more stringent regulatory regime during design and construction for higher-risk buildings through secondary legislation. The Building Safety Act 2022 defines higher-risk buildings for the new design and construction regime as buildings which are at least 18 metres in height or have at least seven storeys and are of a description specified in regulations. Government is proposing to specify in regulations that only hospitals, care homes or buildings containing at least two residential units that meet the height threshold will be higher-risk buildings. A consultation on these proposals can be found here.

The Building Safety Act 2022 provides for the Building Safety Regulator to be the building control authority for higher-risk buildings in England. The proposed regulations will contain the detailed provisions setting out the building control procedures which apply to:

  • The construction of a new higher-risk building (e.g. new build);
  • Building work to an existing higher-risk building such that it continues to be a higher-risk building on completion of the work (e.g. refurbishment of a residential building at least seven storeys in height);
  • Building work to a non higher-risk building such that it becomes a higher-risk building (e.g. converting a five storey residential building to a seven storey residential building);
  • Material change of use of an existing out-of-scope building such that it becomes a higher-risk building (e.g. an office to residential conversion); or,
  • Building work to a higher-risk building or proposed higher-risk building such that it becomes a non higher-risk building.

These building control procedures will provide strengthened regulatory oversight and rigorous inspection of building regulations requirements before, during, and on completion of building work, ensuring that building regulations compliance is considered by dutyholders at each stage of design and construction. Along with the new dutyholder requirements which place firm responsibilities on those carrying out the work and include a strong focus on skills, knowledge, experience and behaviours (including past building regulation compliance), these requirements will encourage culture change by giving the construction industry the clear framework it needs to deliver more high-quality, safe homes and liveable buildings, with clear responsibilities on those undertaking design and construction work.

The new building control process for creating higher-risk buildings will operate as follows:

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