The Building Safety Act 2022 aims to deliver fundamental reform to improve the safety of residential and mixed-use buildings. This complex piece of legislation, together with secondary legislation and the guidance necessary to implement many of its provisions, will impact a wide range of participants in the Construction and Real Estate industry. Shoosmiths has a team of cross-sector experts to provide guidance on the key aspects and the essential measures to ensure compliance.
The Building Safety Act 2022 contains wide ranging reforms, including significant changes to the responsibilities and obligations of those involved in the design, construction and occupation of high-rise residential buildings.
The Act provides for a ‘duty holder regime’ to improve and ensure the competence of those who procure, plan, manage and undertake a broad scope of building work. The Act establishes and extends criminal liability in relation to the construction process, including in relation to breaches of building regulations and breaches of compliance and stop notices.
A new Building Safety Regulator will oversee the safety and standards of all buildings and become the building control authority to oversee the design and construction of ‘higher-risk’ buildings. It will also be responsible for registering higher-risk buildings and assessing safety cases for those buildings during their occupation.
The Act also includes measures to address the cost of fixing historical fire safety defects including removing unsafe cladding, significantly widening the scope of who may be potentially liable. The Act provides for the establishment of a Responsible Actors Scheme (RAS) initially aimed at major housebuilders and other large developers that have developed or refurbished multiple residential buildings that are known to have life-critical fire safety defects.
Changes to the Defective Premises Act 1972 exposes those involved in the design and construction of dwellings to a broader range of claims and extends periods for potential claimants to make claims. In addition, residential developers will be subject to a new levy on all new residential developments in England.
Additionally, changes for fire risk management have arrived alongside the Act in the form of the Fire Safety (England) Regulations 2022 which impose additional duties on Responsible Persons in relation to residential buildings comprising at least two domestic premises.
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