FAQs: The Building Safety Bill

What is the Building Safety Bill?

The Building Safety Bill is a Bill to make provisions about the safety of people in or about buildings and the standard of buildings.

How did it come about?

The Bill was prompted following the tragedy of the Grenfell Tower fire in June 2017.

What happened during the 2017 Grenfell Disaster?

A fire broke out on the fourth floor and within minutes, the fire had spread up the exterior of the building causing 72 people to lose their lives.

Who is responsible for the public enquiry following the 2017 Grenfell Fire?

Sir Martin Moore-Bick was appointed as the Chairmen of the Inquiry by the Prime Minister on 28th June 2017.

What has come out of the 2017 Grenfell Fire public enquiry so far?

  • The fire most likely entered the cladding as a result of hot smoke impinging on the uPVC window jamb, causing it to deform and collapse.
  • The principal reason why the flames spread so rapidly was due to the presence of ACM rainscreen panels with polyethylene cores, acting as a source of fuel.
  • The marketing material relating to the cladding was incorrect as it consistently failed fire tests for 12 years before the tragedy.
  • Surveys undertaken since the fire have established that external wall materials similar to those used on Grenfell Tower have been used on over 400 other high-rise residential buildings around the country.

What is the Building Act 1984?

The primary purpose of the Building Act 1984 is to assist in the conservation of fuel and power, to prevent waste, undue consumption, misuse or contamination of water, and to ensure that those who are in or near buildings are kept safe. The Building Act 1984 imposes a set of requirements on owners and occupiers of buildings.

What is the Fire Safety Act?

The Fire Safety Act 2021 amends the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 with the intention of improving fire safety in multi-occupancy domestic premises.

What is the difference between the Building Safety Bill and the Fire Safety Act?

  • The Fire Safety Act is now law whilst The Building Safety Bill is currently making its way through parliament and is not law yet.
  • The Fire Safety Act provides clarification as to who is accountable for reducing the risk of fires in buildings.
  • The Bill addresses confusion around fire safety, the existing building fire safety regime and clarifies roles and responsibilities.

Who is Dame Judith Hackitt and how has she impacted the Building Safety Bill?

A British engineer and civil servant who was also the Chair of the Independent Review of Building Regulations and Fire Safety. She led the independent review into the Grenfell Tower fire and came up with over 50 recommendations which the Government subsequently accepted all of them.

What jurisdiction will the regulator of the Building Safety Bill have?

The implementation of a more stringent regulative regime, overseeing the safety of all buildings and assisting and encouraging competence.

Has the Building Safety Bill undergone any scrutiny yet?

It was published in draft form on 20th July 2020 and has undergone pre-legislative scrutiny by the Housing, Communities and Local Government Select Committee which issued its report in November 2020. The UK Government responded to the report when it introduced the Bill to the House of Commons on 5th July 2021.

What does Building Safety Regulator​ mean?

The person who implements a more stringent regulative regime whilst overseeing the safety of all buildings and assisting and encouraging competence.

What does Accountable Person mean?

Registers the building with the Building Safety Regulator and applies for a Building Assurance Certificate. They will meet the statutory obligations placed on them.

What does Building Safety Manager​ mean?

Complies with statutory duties and the Building Assurance Certificate. They will manage the building in accordance with the Safety Case report and liaise with the managing agents of the building about safety measures and works. They will cooperate with occupiers and owners of the building.

What does The Safety Case Report​ mean?

Submitted to the Building Safety Regulator setting out the case for residents’ safety. It summarises all the key components of the Safety Case. Includes engagement and participation, complaints handling, information provision and the role of residents in helping to keep the building safe. Includes resident engagement strategy.

What is the Golden Thread of Information?

Building information held digitally to specific standards and kept up to date. The Golden Thread will ensure that those responsible for the building have the required information to manage building safety throughout the lifestyle life cycle of the building.

What is a Building Assurance Certificate​?

A certificate that an accountable person must apply for, and the Building Safety Regulator will provide if it is satisfied that the accountable person is complying with meeting the statutory obligation placed on them.

What are Gateways 1, 2 and 3 in relation to the Building Safety Bill?

Three key stages in the building development where the duty holder must demonstrate that they are managing building safety risks appropriately before they are permitted to progress to the next stage of development.

  • Gateway 1 = Planning.
  • Gateway 2 = Building Control.
  • Gateway 3 = Final Certificate.

What is the Building Control Profession?

The Building Safety Regulator will drive up the competence of the Building Control profession. This includes establishing and maintaining a register of building inspectors (individuals) and building control approvers (either organisations or individuals) as a means of monitoring the quality of building control professionals and increasing accountability across the building control sector.

What are the Building Safety Regulator’s responsibilities?

Formal responsibilities aligned with CDM regulations relating to client, principal designer, principal contractor, designer and contractor.

Who and what does the Building Safety Bill apply to?

Building owners and the built environment industry, such as those who commission building work and who participate in the design and construction process, including clients, designers and contractors.

What is a Higher Risk Building?

  • Two or more dwellings;
  • Two or more rooms for residential purposes;
  • Student accommodation;
    Where:
    The height is 18 metres or more above ground level ignoring any storey which is a rooftop plant and machine area or any storey consisting exclusively of plant and machinery
    Or
    The building contains more than six storeys ignoring any storey which is below ground level
    And
    Room for residential purposes meaning a room other than in a dwelling which is used by one or more persons to live and sleep but excluding a room in a residential care home, secure residential institution such as prison detention centre and temporary accommodation e.g. hotel, hostel, guest house, hospital, hospice.

What are the Accountable Person's responsibilities?

To register the building with the Building Safety Regulator and apply for a Building Assurance Certificate whilst meeting the statutory obligations placed on them.

What is a Safety Case Report?

A document that is submitted to the Building Safety Regulator setting out the case for residents’ safety. It summarises all the key components of the Safety Case. It includes engagement and participation, complaints handling, information provision and the role of residents in helping to keep the building safe. It includes resident engagement strategy

What is a Building Assurance Certification?

A certificate that an accountable person must apply for, and the Building Safety Regulator will provide if it is satisfied that the accountable person is complying with meeting the statutory obligation placed on them.

What are the responsibilities of the Building Safety Manager?

They comply with statutory duties and the Building Assurance Certificate. They will manage the building in accordance with the Safety Case report and liaise with the managing agents of the building about safety measures and works. They will cooperate with occupiers and owners of the building.

What is the Golden Thread of Information and why is it important?

Building information held digitally to specific standards and kept up to date. It is important because it will ensure that those responsible for the building have the required information to manage building safety throughout the lifestyle life cycle of the building.

Will there be a chance of partial occupancy for high-rise buildings?

No, as there will be a requirement for a Building Assurance Certificate which will almost certainly not be approved whilst the building is still under construction.

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