The Building Safety Act gained Royal Assent in April 2022, with the aim to challenge some of the fundamental safety issues by highlighting ownership and responsibility for remedial works to make a building safe. Here, RLB’s Head of Building Safety, Samantha Mepham talks to Project Safety Journal about the five key considerations around the Act and what those in the built environment need to not only think about but act upon in 2023.
2022 saw the industry starting to get to grips with the Building Safety Act, which came into force in April, alongside other changes such as the extension to liability in the Defective Premises Act (June 2022).
But what about 2023? This year we’ll see the launch of the Building Safety Act’s secondary legislation and for many, the practical delivery of projects and management of occupied buildings will change.
Here we consider what the top priorities for building safety in 2023:
No. 1 Competence
BSi Flex 8670, the core criteria for building safety in competence frameworks, is currently in the process of being translated into a British Standard. Expected in early 2024, this means as an industry we have another opportunity to review and comment on the proposals.
No.2 Information Management and the Golden Thread
Effective information management throughout the whole lifecycle is necessary, with digital systems needed, together with the competent resource to facilitate the management of information from conception and throughout occupation. The systems should be able to capture competence, design change management, Gateway stipulations and the information necessary to register and certify a building.
No. 3 The Gateways
This is an urgent priority for those involved in construction projects, both in pre-construction and delivery stage. The industry now needs to reflect on whether they are ready, or rather organised enough to meet Gateways 2 and 3 requirements.
No. 4 Registration of Existing Buildings
In April 2023, registration of the existing established 12,500 higher-risk buildings will open, six months later that window will close and anyone with buildings within scope (seven storeys or 18 metres, with two or more residential dwellings) will face penalties if they have not registered within this time.
No. 5 Certification of Existing Buildings
Linked closely with registration is the building safety certificate. The government has predicted a five year programme to certify all existing buildings based on prioritisation criteria still to be confirmed, again with new builds certified before occupation. It is at this stage I believe we’ll see the biggest impact as many organisations simply do not have the level of information necessary in order to be certified.
2022 was a monumental year for the built environment and safety legislation but 2023 is where the true test begins, and action to adhere to governance will need to be taken. If I had one New Year resolution to recommend, it would be for the industry to step up to the challenges the new legislation poses and prove we can, and will, deliver better.
This is an abridged version of an article that appeared in the Spring 2023 edition of the Project Safety Journal. Read the article on pg. 9 by clicking here