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A number of significant milestones in the creation of the Building Safety Regulator are now in force, having been mandated by the historic Building Safety Act 2022, which represents the "biggest change in building safety" in decades.
As Fire Safety Matters previously reported, the Building Safety Regulator is now the organisation in charge of overseeing construction projects involving higher-risk structures. Now required is the registration of such structures. Additionally, both building control inspectors and building control approvers can now register.
The Building Safety Regulator is now the building control authority for all higher-risk buildings in England. This means that developers will no longer be able to choose the building control body they use for building work on residential buildings that are over 18 metres high (or seven stories) with at least two residential units, as well as hospitals and care homes that meet the same height threshold.
Applications for higher-risk buildings will be evaluated by the Building Safety Regulator, and building work cannot start until the Building Safety Regulator has given its approval.
Building approval process
After the launch of Planning Gateway One in August 2021, a new building approval procedure known as Gateway Two is introduced. The Health and Safety Executive was established as a statutory consultee for specific high-rise building developments in accordance with current planning law.
Before granting planning permission for these buildings, Planning Gateway One makes sure that fire safety considerations are incorporated throughout the design proposals.
A third gateway now also applies at the point of completion of a higher-risk building project before it can be occupied. Higher-risk buildings can only be occupied after the Building Safety Regulator has issued the building with a building control certificate.
Crucially, as well as the changes to the higher-risk building regime, anyone appointed to undertake any type of building work in England will be required to demonstrate competence in their work and compliance with the new legislation as well as the existing Building Regulations.
Starting this month, all building control inspectors and approvers will need to register with the Building Safety Regulator ahead of the profession becoming regulated in April 2024. The Building Safety Regulator has already published the building inspector competence framework and approved three independent assessment schemes. Building inspectors will need to undergo an assessment under one of these schemes to demonstrate their competence before they can register.
Unprecedented change in thinking
"October witnessed a major step forward in the Building Safety Regulator's regulatory programme and a new era for building safety, which places residents' safety at its core," said Philip White, director of building safety and construction at the Health and Safety Executive. The way we think about safety regulations and compliance with them has undergone an unheard-of transformation in this new era. We are promoting competence among people and organisations throughout the entire built environment while simultaneously ensuring tighter regulations and better oversight.
White continued: “Those responsible for higher-risk buildings have registered them with us, providing crucial information which will help in keeping the residents of these buildings safe. The registers for building inspectors and building control approvers also open this month. We‘re encouraging building control professionals to undergo assessment as soon as possible before registration becomes mandatory from April 2024.”
Further, White noted: “We continue to work in collaboration with built environment professionals across all industry sectors to ensure everyone has real clarity and understanding on what good practice around compliance and competence looks like. That said, the future of building safety is in all our hands. It now comes down to everyone in the industry to put the necessary measures in place in order to deliver on their legal obligations. Industry needs to step up now and lead the way.”
Interested parties can access the building control application service and register for inspectors and approvers by using the following links:
- *Manage a building control application for a higher-risk building – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)
- *Read the building inspector competence framework
- *Register as a building inspector
- *Register as a building control approver
View the SOURCE here.
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30 November 2023
05 September 2023