INSIGHTThe Building Safety Act's in-occupation management duties for Higher-Risk Buildings
25 January 2024
By Lydia Dent
The Building Safety Act received Royal Assent on 28 April 2022, following a three-year public consultation and legislative process. The Building Safety Act implements most 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.
The Building Safety Act and supporting legislation 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.
At Trowers, we quickly recognised the importance and significance of Dame Judith Hackitt’s recommendations in her 2018 review and have, from an early stage, been at the forefront of the new regime. Our dedicated group of specialist lawyers are committed to helping our clients address every aspect of the new legislation. We have already helped our private and public sector landlord clients and all professions impacted by the Building Safety Act to navigate the new legislative and competency frameworks. We have published an Essential Guide to provide an overview of the key elements of the Building Safety Act and have held webinars and conferences to hear from key speakers and practitioners in the industry about how the new regime will work in practice.
Changing business models, working methods and retraining staff is no small ask and requires new thinking across the building industry. The Building Safety legislation imposes competency requirements and creates new dutyholder responsibilities for most building and design work undertaken in England. A new building control regime, overseen by a national Building Safety Regulator, will cover the design, construction and maintenance of higher-risk buildings, and landlords and building owners of new and existing higher-risk buildings will have legal responsibility for ensuring the safety of their residents.
Failure to comply with the new rules will be a criminal offence, and individuals within corporate entities may be held liable for serious breaches. The legislation extends timescales for claims under the Defective Premises Act, and allows the courts wide-ranging powers to recover monies from landlords for building remediation works, which have yet to be tested in the courts.
The new regime is complicated and wide-ranging, affecting nearly every aspect of the building industry, including procurement, local authority planning, construction, asset management, corporate law, governance, landlord and tenancy agreements. Resident engagement is given key priority, requiring landlords to address a diverse population of tenants with different requirements.
We have a deep understanding of the shifting regulatory environment and rapidly changing agenda and work across the public and private sector. We also have one of the largest dedicated real estate and construction teams in the UK, and our clients range from private and public sector landlords, private sector developers to central and local government, contractors, consultants and investors.
We have also been working since 2018 with the government the Chartered Institute of Housing, National Housing Federation, trade bodies and clients in order to better understand the impact of the new regime in all areas of your business. We pride ourselves on offering efficient, knowledgeable and client-focused advice that will identify the key decisions to be made and practical issues that executive and operational teams, boards and senior management teams need to consider moving forward.
25 January 2024
By Lydia Dent
13 December 2023
By James Hudson
27 November 2023