The new building safety framework established by the Building Safety Regulator in line with the Building Safety Act 2022, is fast being rolled out. The end of September deadline for the registration of high-risk residential buildings is looming, but what does it mean for you?
If you own or manage an occupied high-rise residential building or are responsible for a building’s design, construction and completion you’ll need to get ready for new roles and responsibilities. Read on for guidance on how you can prepare for building information requirements.
High-risk residential buildings (HRRB) must now be registered with the Building Safety Regulator (BSR). The registration of all existing HRRBs began on 6 April 2023 and must be completed no later than 30th September 2023. From October onwards, all new buildings must be registered before being occupied.
Buildings with at least two residential units which are at least 18 metres in height or have at least seven storeys.
In addition, Key Building Information must then be provided to the BSR within 28 days after registration. If the building is occupied but not registered after this date, being non-compliant will be an offence.
Alongside the registration of HRRBs, new responsibilities came into effect on 6th April 2023 for dutyholders — known as principal accountable persons (PAPs) — under the Building Safety Act 2022.
The individuals or organisations responsible for managing fire and structural safety risks in a high-rise residential building are known as “accountable persons” and among them, there is a specific role called the “principal accountable person”. In some cases, they are the same person.
The accountable person may be the owner or an entity legally obligated to evaluate and oversee structural failure and fire risks to people inside and around the building. They must prevent a building safety risk happening (spread of fire and/or structural failure), reduce the seriousness of an incident if one happens and repair common parts of the building.
Each building must have a clearly identifiable Principal Accountable Person, who could be an individual, a commonhold association, local authority, or social housing provider. If there is just one accountable person for a building, then they will also be the principal accountable person.
Additional duties include:
Sadly, a great many factors contributed to the Grenfell Tower Fire and the fact that it was wrapped in highly flammable materials or cladding was just the beginning. Subsequent inquiries uncovered many failures including non-compliant fire doors and door closures, faulty firefighting lifts, and lack of regulation over building materials, record keeping and the transfer of information.
In the event of an emergency, the fire services need to be able to quickly paint a clear picture of a what makes up a building in order to make critical life-saving decisions fast. When the London Fire Brigade arrived at Grenfell, they found that some basic information relating to the tower was either wrong or missing entirely. The Operations and Maintenance (O&M) manual was incomplete missing vital fire safety information and did not contain an as-built fire safety strategy. There was an absence of an operational evacuation plan and no list of vulnerable residents.
The resulting inquiry found the regulatory system covering high-rise and complex buildings was not fit for purpose and The Building Safety Act and secondary legislation, ‘The High-rise Buildings (Key Building Information) (England) Regulation 2023’, introduces new requirements on those responsible for higher-risk buildings to provide the BSR with key building information. The information must be digitally submitted and accessible at all times so that the BSR, residents and interested parties can see that a building is registered and who is responsible for its fire and structural safety.
This regulation a significant step towards improving the handover and accessibility of fire safety information for decision making and consequently the safety of those living in high-rise buildings.
Where previous building regulation and guidance may have been clear about building outcomes to be achieved, it did not include anything about roles and responsibilities. The Building Safety Regulator was established to regulate high-rise buildings in England and hold dutyholders accountable and is currently being led by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE). The building safety reforms rolled out by the BSR give clear accountability and statutory responsibilities throughout the design, build, and occupation of a building, as well as any refurbishment or retrofitting. This helps ensure that buildings are designed and constructed to be safe and built to better standards in line with building safety reform.
The BSR is responsible for:
The HSE are working with the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities (DLUHC) to implement the legislation and consulting with industry bodies and other regulators and partners such as local authorities fire and rescue services and building control bodies to set up the processes the BSA will work to. These will be operational to the below timetable:
30th September 2023
To receive updates to BSR processes you can subscribe to HSE’s BSR eBulletin here.
Contractors now have accountability and statutory responsibilities against the new regulatory framework under the Building Safety Act 2022 when buildings are being constructed. The construction of high-quality buildings must also demonstrate compliance with the below building regulation requirements so that a building is safe to occupy, and safety risks can be managed effectively when a building is in use. Contractors must:
Meet digital competency requirements: Contractors must be able to demonstrate their organisations have the right capabilities, including digital and technology skills.
Create a ‘golden thread’ of information: Contractors must keep a robust digital record of design, construction and safety information in line with Golden Thread duties.
Submit a Gateway 3 application: Contractors must submit a Gateway 3 application to the BSR to demonstrate that the completed construction aligns with building regulation requirements and that a high standard of construction has been delivered. To learn more about Gateway 3, read our blog, ‘Gateway 3 of the Building Safety Act Explained’.
Collate Building Safety Case information: Contractors will need to collate information such as the building’s construction, basic building information, the design and installation of any prevention and protective measures, their current condition, how they should be managed and maintained, and any changes to them during building alterations or refurbishments.
Handover accurate building information to the asset owner: Information must be handed over to the building owner so that a building can be registered, and key building information submitted ahead of occupancy.
Building information across a property portfolio must be digitised to account for documentation. Asset owners must then maintain accurate, good quality, up-to-date information on their buildings so that it is available to the Building Safety Regulator, fire and rescue services or residents. In higher-risk buildings, accountable persons will need to demonstrate that they have implemented effective, proportionate measures to manage building safety risks. Asset owners must:
Digitise building information: Consistent documentation should be easily accessible across a portfolio of building stock. Asset owners should be able to identify information gaps and track document compliance in one place.
Register high-rise residential buildings: The Principle Accountable Person (PAP) must register all high-risk residential buildings (a building that has at least 7 floors or is at least 18 metres in height) that residents occupy or could occupy by 30 September 2023. It is an offence to allow residents to occupy an unregistered building after this date.
Submit Key Building Information: When applying to register a high-rise residential building with the Building Safety Regulator, PAPs must submit Key Building Information containing documentation about the building’s structure and fire safety.
Produce a Safety Case Report: As the principal accountable person for a high-rise residential building, you will be required to produce a safety case report in order to demonstrate that risks have been identified and assessed associated with the spread of fire and structural failure.
Maintain a ‘golden thread’ of building information: Asset owners must ensure all building information and processes are up to date, accurate and stored digitally to manage action, and audit documents for gateway approval and compliance.
The successful management of key building information will mean different things to different people. For contractors looking to achieve Gateway 3 compliance and build out additional robust building safety information to deliver to the client without slowing a project down, the ability to integrate a solution to sit alongside existing systems that talk to each other and enable a single source of truth may be a requirement.
For asset owners who now have new responsibilities as PAPs, being able to transfer and trace information easily across different stakeholders and systems, from planning to construction and the operation of a building, will be necessary.
For everyone involved with the requirements set out by the BSA, it will be important to consider the way documentation and data work together. Today, typically, building information is stored as documents or data on multiple applications. By digitalising building information, it’s possible to not only see all documentation in one place, but also make decisions based on data. For example, with Createmaster’s fully managed service and dashboards from Zutec, you can get all your documents and data in one place and get real-time visibility of your information to track project progress, find out what is missing or identify risk, while also understanding levels of compliance.
Information within the golden thread will inevitably need to be useful across different systems to meet the needs of different stakeholders. Aligning information to industry standards and schemas provides the first step to connecting information, creating a consistent digital language through all information management activities across the life of an asset.
For example, something as simple as standardising how files are named (using BS EN ISO 19650-2) reduces the time required to find information. And when timing is critical, such as the fire services needing to assess a building quickly for their firefighting strategy, it should be easily findable.
As a platform that enables a single source of truth through data and document storage, discoverability and interoperability, Zutec can deliver a solution to address the requirements outlined in this blog.
To find out more and take full control of Key Building Information, you can watch our latest webinar, ‘Making Building Information Digital: Post-Grenfell Impact‘, to gain valuable insights into the critical role of building information provision, and how digitalisation will help create safer homes for all. Alternatively, get in touch with our expert team at email@example.com to arrange a consultation and demo.