And what landlords, tenants, and other stakeholders need to know
A bit of background
The Building Safety Act 2022 was introduced to improve the safety of buildings following the Grenfell Tower tragedy in 2017. The Act predominately applies to England and Wales with limited application in Scotland and Northern Ireland, and while the act mainly focuses on improving the safety of higher-risk and residential buildings, it has wider implications for all building owners and occupiers, including those in the commercial sector.
Here RLB Partner, Tim Sims talks about some of the possible implications for commercial estates:
Stricter regulations and safety standards
As part of the new legislation, there has been an introduction of stricter regulations and safety standards for buildings, especially around the suitability of materials, the competencies of those designing and working on ‘in-scope’ buildings, and the safe operation and maintenance of buildings, some of which may introduce clients to new duties and obligations. For example, organisations may need to provide additional information to other duty-holders, become a duty-holder themselves, improve the fire resistance of their building materials, or make other modifications to ensure the safety of their buildings.
Impact on insurance requirements
Another area for the commercial sector to consider is whether or not the Building Safety Act requirements will affect their insurance requirements. Following the Grenfell Tower tragedy, many insurance companies have become more cautious about insuring properties with potential fire risks, especially those with adjoining residential properties. As a result, occupiers may face higher insurance premiums or even difficulty obtaining insurance if their premises are deemed to be high risk.
Increase in pressure to demonstrate safe practice
Finally, there is no doubt that the Grenfell Tower tragedy rightly raised public awareness about building safety issues, and public perception has changed with people now more concerned about the safety of the buildings they visit. This could lead to increased scrutiny of safety practices, as well as increased pressure on owners and occupiers to demonstrate their commitment to building safety.
Overall, the Building Safety Act 2022 is one of the most significant legislative changes of recent years, all portfolio owners and managers need to review the impact of the changes and identify how the Act affects them, particularly in terms of building regulations, new duty-holder roles, information sharing, insurance requirements, and public perception.
The RLB team is currently supporting the commercial sector on its journey to lifecycle building safety assurance. If you would like to find out more about the Building Safety Act and how the RLB team can help you meet and optimise your approach to full compliance, please contact Tim Sims on Tim.Sims@uk.rlb.com.