29 September 2021
Under Construction - Q3 2021 – 5 of 5 Insights
The HSE has published a set of principles for high-rise residential buildings to help support the industry prepare for the introduction of safety case requirements which forms part of the more stringent regulatory regime for higher-risk buildings in England under the Building Safety Bill.
These principles provide early key messages on the requirements of safety cases and have been developed with the help of early industry adopters. The safety case requirements will require those who manage or are responsible for higher-risk residential buildings to focus on the major accident hazards of the building and what can be done to identify and manage that risk. A major accident hazard is a fire or structural failure which has the potential to cause harm to many people.
A key message is for those responsible to think critically about the building, identifying potentially harmful events and clearly showing that the necessary proportionate and effective measures are in place to prevent, control and mitigate the risks. This will require an assessment of what could go wrong, how it could go wrong and how significant the impact would be in relation of the spread of fire or structural failure of the building.
The principles also cover the production of the safety case report which is a document that summarises the safety case. The report should identify major hazards associated with fire and structural risks and demonstrate the measures in place to show how those risks will be effectively managed and controlled. The safety case report will need to be reviewed and updated to continue to provide assurance that major fire and structural hazards are being properly managed and controlled.
The HSE recommend that those responsible for high-rise residential buildings should start taking steps now to think about the building holistically as a fully integrated system in order to prepare for the new safety case regime. This will involve thinking about the scenarios for fire spread and structural failure, gathering existing information about the building and existing controls, including its physical construction, analysing building safety critical elements and component specifications, considering existing control measures that are already in place and seeking resident insights into the maintenance of the building.
More material will follow from the HSE to build on these principles and to reflect the building safety legislation as it emerges.
by Ralph Wood