Two new Gateways are coming, expected in October this year. They will be robust stopping points in the design and construction of new higher-risk buildings (HRBs), refurbishments of existing HRBs, and other projects involving works on or conversions of buildings into HRBs. Their purpose is to pause a project at various points between inception and completion, so that they can be reviewed and inspected from a building safety perspective.
So, what do you need to know?
Are your buildings affected?
The Gateways will only affect HRBs. If you're not sure whether you have an HRB, quickly check out our article on this topic here.
The number of Gateways
There are going to be three Gateways.
Gateway 1 has already been in place since 2021, and you'll have noticed it at the planning stage.
Gateways 2 and 3 are new and are expected to come into force on 1 October 2023, although exact confirmation of this date as well as the draft legislation on the new Gateways are still awaited at the time of writing.
What do the new Gateways do?
They stop the project at key points, so that building safety and building regulations compliance can be reviewed by the Building Safety Regulator (BSR).
While the legislation is awaited, a government consultation last year proposed the following:
- Gateway 2 (pre-construction): the applicant submits a building control approval application to the BSR before starting construction (replacing the current “deposit of full plans”). The BSR decides the application within 12 weeks (and can take longer if agreed). Their approval is vital though, as building work cannot start without this.
- Gateway 3 (post-construction): the applicant submits a completion certificate application to the BSR and hands the Golden Thread to the accountable person (in a nutshell, the Golden Thread is essentially all the important, up-to-date, relevant information about the HRB that demonstrates building regulations compliance and that the building has been constructed in accordance with the approved design). The BSR decides the application within 12 weeks (but again can take longer if agreed). Their approval is essential as residential units in an HRB cannot be occupied without this.
The consultation also proposed a 6-month transitional period, which would apply to individual HRBs under certain conditions.
Don't forget registration
On top of passing through both Gateways, the HRB must be registered before it can be occupied.
Existing HRBs should already have been registered by the time the two new Gateways are in force (more on this here), but new HRBs will need to be registered for the first time.
The impact on project timings
Clearly, passing through the new Gateways will impact the timings and programme for your projects. In addition to the 12 weeks for Gateway 2, a further 12 weeks for Gateway 3, and the registration time for new HRBs, in the consultation the government also proposed that for Gateway 2:
- “We would also encourage dutyholders to provide two weeks’ advance warning to the regulator before submitting their application”, and
- “Once building control approval has been granted…the client, or someone on their behalf, must give notice to the BSR at least five working days before the day they intend to commence HRB work”.
Saving time now!
There are some things you can start doing early:
- Identify your HRBs and any planned works on or for HRBs now
- Consider how they may be impacted by the proposed new Gateways and whether the outlined transitional period could apply
- Train your teams
- Have conversations with all impacted parties
- Keep an eye out for developments – as soon as further details and legislation about the Gateways are published, review these, plan what you need to do, and design processes to comply (including around the Golden Thread) if you haven't done so already
- Build timescales for BSR approvals into your plans and programmes.