Galvanised by the Grenfell disaster of 2017 which killed 72 people, the Building Safety Act 2022 came into effect on 28 June. With tightening up of regulations and greater control over construction, what does this mean for construction companies and leaseholders in high rise buildings?
A brand new regulator
The bill sees a brand new regulator to be overseen by the Health & Safety Executive (HSE). Through “prevention, control, mitigation and ongoing management”, the watchdog aims to ensure proportionate steps will deal with any building safety risks.
It will also consult and respond to safety concerns raised by residents through a new Residents’ Panel.
It specifically refers to high-rise buildings that are at least 18 metres in height, or at least seven storeys, and have a minimum of two residential units. It also applies to care homes and hospitals that hit the same height threshold.
Products used in Construction
A new National Regulator for Construction Products will conduct surveillance and remove unsafe materials quicker. It will also take action against those breaking the rules.
Holding industry responsible
Not only does the new regulator apply to any new builds, but it also holds developers responsible for existing buildings. The Building Safety Levy will be extended and will fund removal of unsafe cladding on buildings of 11-18 metres where the developer cannot be traced.
The act also enables building owners to take legal action against developers, contractors and manufacturers for poor construction or poor products that have caused buildings to be inhabitable for the past 30 years.
Protection for Leaseholders
For those that qualify, it will importantly protect existing leaseholders from the huge costs associated with rectification of problems and also protects new leaseholders by holding developers responsible for safety and quality issues.
Commenting on the introduction of the act, levelling up secretary Michael Gove said:
“Today marks a major turning point for building safety in this country, as we introduce a tough, new regime to make homes safe and help rid the sector of bad practice once and for all.
“Hundreds of thousands of innocent leaseholders now have the legal protection they rightly deserve, freeing them from a financial burden they should never have faced.”
Construction News provides a detailed summary.