New building safety regulations, in the form of the higher-risk buildings (key building information etc.) (England) Regulations 2023 (Regulations), were laid in draft before Parliament at the end of January for debate and approval.
These draft regulations explain what building safety information has to be provided to the Building Safety Regulator (BSR) following an application to register a higher-risk building, and clarify safety responsibilities in respect of higher-risk buildings.
Higher-risk buildings are, in very broad terms, buildings which contain at least two residential units and are at least 18 metres in height, or which have at least seven storeys, subject to exceptions.
The draft regulations set out the "key building information" that the principal accountable person (PAP), meaning the person responsible for the repair of the structure and exterior of the building, will have to provide to the BSR in relation to a higher-risk building.
The key building information includes information, at a high level, about potential risk factors including:
- Whether it is attached to any other building
- Use and a change of use
- The external wall system and roof
- The structural design type of the building and main material used
- The number of storeys below ground level and staircases
- The type of energy supply and energy storage system
- The evacuation strategy for the building
- Fire and smoke control equipment.
This information will not contain all the information that will be required in the golden thread, so must be prepared separately. It must be submitted, in an electronic format, within 28 days of the PAP submitting an application for registration of that higher-risk building. There is also an ongoing obligation for the PAP to notify the BSR of any changes to the key building information within 28 days of becoming aware of the change.
In addition to the PAP, there may be additional accountable persons (AP) with responsibility for the safety of specific parts of a higher-risk building under the Building Safety Act 2022 (BSA). This creates the potential for confusion in respect of understanding who is responsible for the safety of certain aspects of a building.
The draft regulations recognise this risk and seek to clarify the parts of a higher-risk building which APs are responsible for, including balconies and residential units. It aims to provide a framework to help them to understand their responsibilities under the BSA in circumstances where there is more than one AP in respect of a higher-risk building.
The draft regulations are available here and will now make their way through the parliamentary process before becoming law.