As we set out previously, the Building Safety Regulator (BSR) has been encouraging owners and managers of existing higher-risk buildings in England to register such buildings with the BSR prior to 1 October 2023.
In the time since the BSR opened its registers the Health & Safety Executive has announced that over 750 existing higher-risk buildings have been the subject of applications to register. This is significantly shy of the estimated 13,000 plus existing higher-risk buildings which should be registered before the 1 October 2023 deadline.
In addition to registration, the Principal Accountable Person (PAP) needs to submit Key Building Information about the structure and fire safety of the higher-risk building to the BSR within 28 days of the application for registration. The government have published guidance as to the Key Building Information which needs to be provided to the BSR as part of the registration process.
Guidance on Key Building Information
Government guidance published in May 2023 states that PAPs should take all reasonable steps to find the Key Building Information about the building that they wish to register, but that most of the information should be available from the most recent fire risk assessment or EWS appraisal without the need to undertake a further survey.
This Key Building Information will relate to fire and smoke controls, energy supplies, storage and generation, the type of structure, roof, staircases and external walls, the building's use, any building work since the original build and connections between structures or to other buildings.
In particular, details of the following should be provided to the BSR:
Fire and smoke controls
- evacuation strategy for residential areas;
- fire and smoke control equipment in both the residential units and common areas; and
- type of lifts in the building (for example, evacuation lift, firefighters lift, fire-fighting lift, modernised lift for fire service use or firemen’s lift).
- certified fire resistance of residential front doors and other fire doors used by residents (such as those between corridors and staircases);
- the number of doors that have a certified fire resistance for 30, 60 or 120 minutes; and
- any doors where the fire resistance is unknown.
Energy supplies, storage and generation
- each type of energy storage for the building (such as lithium batteries);
- energy generated on-site (for example, air source heat pumps, biomass boilers or solar panels); and
- types of energy supplied (such as district heating, mains electricity, gas, or oil).
Types of structure
- structure of the building and its constituent materials (such as composite steel and concrete, concrete large panel system, masonry, timber).
- type of roof (for example, flat, pitched or a mixture);
- any insulation; and
- main roof covering material.
- number of internal and external staircases (including any that serve the basement); and
- internal staircases that serve all floors from the ground level to the top floor.
- materials that are visible on the outside of the walls, together with an estimate of the percentage of each type of visible material.
- if the building has aluminium composite material (ACM) or high-pressure laminate (HPL), confirmation that: the material meets the fire classification A2-s1, d0 or better; or (has passed a large-scale fire test to BS8414 standard.
- type (and percentage used) of insulation in the outside walls;
- features on the outside walls or roof, together with the two most common materials used for each feature – note that: features on the roof include communal recreation areas, phone masts or roof lights; and features on the outside walls include advertising hoardings, balconies or staircases, walkways between structures or escape routes onto the roof; and
- machinery in an outbuilding, on the roof, or in a room on the roof.
- primary and secondary use of the building;
- the use and number of any floors below ground level; and
- the building's previous primary use.
Building works since original build
- any building works, for example asbestos removal or remediation, additional balconies, changes in the number of residential units, changes in the number or location of staircases, changes to windows, rewiring of a floor of or the whole of the building, the addition or removal of floors, reinforcement works to large panel structures, and work relating to the external walls (such as replacement of cavity barriers, insulation, or cladding);
- installation or removal of to fire systems, emergency lighting, cold water systems in multiple residential units, heating or hot water systems in multiple residential units, and the gas supply; and
- most recent works undertaken and what year such works were completed which the PAP should try to find from the building's records (such as the Health & Safety File and/or Operation & Maintenance Manuals).
- connections between structures within the building (where the building contains more than one structure); and
- connections to other buildings.
All PAPs of higher-risk buildings should start to collate the Key Building Information as guided by government, and apply to register existing higher-risk buildings well before the 1 October 2023 deadline. Once Section 77 of the Building Safety Act is commenced, it will be a criminal offence (committed by the PAP or in certain circumstances by its officers if a body corporate) if a higher-risk building is occupied but not registered. In order to help PAPS those who are responsible for the management of "higher-risk buildings", government has separately published new guidance on the criteria that are used to determine whether an occupied building constitutes a higher-risk building.
PAPs and also purchasers of higher-risk buildings should be alive to these requirements, and also be aware that registration is not the end of the building safety obligations. The other in-occupation duties of the PAPs are anticipated to commence on 1 October 2023, although this date has yet to be confirmed. Such duties will include:
- continuous assessment and management of building safety risks using safety management systems;
- preparation of safety case reports;
- compliance with mandatory occurrence reporting;
- operating a residents engagement strategy and a complaints handling procedure.
The information and documents arising out of the above duties will need to be submitted to the BSR as part of the calling-in process, in support of applications to the BSR for the Building Assessment Certificate. The calling-in process is not expected to commence until April 2024, and once the process starts, applications for Building Assessment Certificates will need to be made within 28 days of the calling-in of the application by the BSR. At present, it is anticipated that the BSR will call-in existing higher-risk buildings in tranches, prioritising those buildings with the highest risk factors, and that it will take an estimated five years to assess all the existing higher-risk buildings.
We’ll update you once further information and guidance is made available.