Building Safety Act essential guide - July 2022
The Building Safety Act (the Act) received Royal Assent on 28 April 2022, following a three-year public consultation and legislative process.
Last year, we produced an Essential Guide, whilst the Bill was making its way through Parliament, which provided an overview of the key elements of the proposed legal changes. Now that the Act has been published, we have updated this Essential Guide to reflect the final regime.
The Act implements most (but not all) of Dame Judith Hackitt’s recommendations in her 2018 review of the building industry, Building a Safer Future, in response to the Grenfell Tower fire in 2017. The Act imports a new centrally-regulated regime to govern the design, construction, and maintenance of the built environment, and represents the most radical change to the building industry in fifty years.
Building safety bill
The Act itself was published on 13 May 2022, following a number of drafts of the Bill as it went through the parliamentary process. Public discussion about the Act was overshadowed in the final months of the parliamentary process by last-minute Government and House of Lords amendments to make developers pay for remediation works to existing buildings and to limit landlords’ ability to recharge tenants for building remediation costs.
The role of the Building Safety Manager, which was to have been a central part of the new regulatory regime for higher-risk buildings in the Bill, has been removed from the final Act.
These amendments have not been subject to public consultation, and many industry players are still catching up with the implications of the changes to what is already an extremely technical and complex piece of legislation.
Since the first version of the Bill was published, a number of draft pieces of secondary legislation have also been published alongside it. Whilst most of these currently remain in draft form, we expect them to be brought into effect in the coming months, along with further regulations yet to be made under the Act.
Whilst this Guide explains the key provisions of the draft sets of regulations, it should be noted that the Government may make further changes to these in their final form.Implementation of the bulk of the new regime is anticipated within 12-18 months from the date of Royal Assent (i.e. by April – October 2023) with some obligations coming into force before then.
For example, the provisions dealing with the remediation of certain defects (which were the most heavily publicised part of the Act) came into force two months from the date of Royal Assent (i.e. 28 June 2022). This is an ambitious timetable, and much work is already underway to upskill across the built environment industry to meet the new requirements.
Implementing the Building Safety Act
Trowers & Hamlins is committed to helping our clients implement the new building safety regime and we have been working alongside clients across the public and private sectors from the outset of the proposals, helping to deliver meaningful change.As part of this work, we produced an Essential Guide whilst the Bill was making its way through Parliament, which provided an overview of the key elements of the proposed legal changes.
Now that the Act has been published, we have updated this Essential Guide to The Building Safety Act to reflect the final regime. Whilst the Essential Guide covers the Act and the rest of the regime as it currently stands, we still await further secondary legislation, guidance and the explanatory notes to the Act to flesh the regime out further.
However, we hope that this will help the sector get to grips with the new regime as we move to implement the changes.