The government has published its response to a further section of the building safety regime consultation, focusing on occupied higher-risk buildings (HRBs).
The questions considered in this part of the consultation related to registration requirements for HRBs. More information about what the registration will actually entail is now available, as well as confirmation of the fee for registration, which will be £251.
On the whole, the responses to the consultation supported the Regulations as drafted, and it is anticipated that they will come into force on 6 April 2023 without amendment.
However, a date is yet to be set on when the window for registration will open.
Under the Regulations, the ‘start date’ for that window is defined as the day on which s.32 of the Building Safety Act 2022 (BSA) comes into force – the date has not yet been announced.
Further commencement provisions are expected, following confirmation that the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) will require all HRBs to be registered with the Regulator from April 2023.
In order to register the building, the principal accountable person (PAP) must provide some basic information to enable the Regulator to identify the building and the persons responsible for its safety.
Registration will therefore require:
Information about the Principal Accountable Person
- Name, address and contact details. It is important to note that the PAP will need to provide an address for service of notices in England and Wales, regardless of whether that PAP is in fact located overseas
- If the PAP is not an individual, more information about what type of entity it is (e.g. a local authority, charity or registered company), plus contact details for a single point of contact for the purposes of the application
- If an agent is making the application, their name, address and confirmation from the PAP that the agent is authorised to act on their behalf
Although there was some concern in response to the consultation that delegating responsibility to an agent would risk undermining the accuracy of the register and reduce accountability, it is clear that managing agents already provide a key supporting role to those that will be PAPs under the regime, and so it seems natural for this to continue.
Information about the building
- The address, postcode and name (if applicable) of the building
- The number of residential units it contains
- The height in metres of the building and number of storeys
- The year in which the building was completed
Depending on when the building was completed
- For older buildings, the PAP must confirm whether, to its knowledge, the building met the appropriate building standards applying at the time of completion. Responses to this part of the consultation were mixed, but the government response is robust and confirms that the Regulator will be able to provide further guidance as to what information is required – or what to do where that information is unavailable
- If construction of a HRB has commenced but not completed before the new regime comes into effect, and the transitional arrangements apply, the PAP must provide the appropriate completion or final certificate in order to assist the Regulator in understanding the building regulations which applied at the time of design and construction
- For new buildings, any building certificates must be provided, including the unique reference number assigned by the Regulator when awarding a building regulations completion certificate. This will not be the same as the building’s Ordnance Survey UPRN
- Finally, and if applicable, the application should include the date that any special measures order is made or discharged
Once buildings have been registered, the information will then be published as required by the Act, subject to any privacy or security implications, in order to increase transparency in the sector.
Under the draft Regulations, the PAP must notify the Regulator of any changes to registration information, including copies of any updated certificates, within 14 days of becoming aware of the change.
Review and appeals process
The consultation response also provides more detail about the process under s.25(1)(27) of the BSA, whereby an affected person can give notice to the Regulator requiring it to carry out an internal review of certain decisions it makes.
The draft Regulations prescribe which decisions can be reviewed, including refusals to register a building or to grant a building assessment certificate, or a decision to remove, or refuse to remove, a building from the register.
More detail has also been provided about the review process, including what prescribed information should be included in the notice and setting a fixed 28 relevant day timescale for the Regulator’s response.
If not resolved internally, decisions can be appealed to the First-tier Tribunal.
By way of reminder, registration is not the end of the story.
The PAP must provide further key building information within 28 days of submitting an application for registration – and there will, of course, also be on-going responsibility for the ‘golden thread’ of information over a building’s lifetime.
With approximately 12,500 higher-risk buildings across England and an anticipated six-month deadline for compliance, to October 2023, it is crucial for owners and managers of HRBs to get ahead and begin the registration process promptly.
As highlighted in the consultation response, the Regulator has already been engaging with stakeholders and publicising the new regime.
More information and support for owners and managers of HRBs can be found here, which also gives the option to sign up for email updates from the Regulator. Alternatively, please get in touch with Shoosmiths’ expert team.