The Building Safety Act is a game-changing piece of legislation that aims to improve safety in buildings by establishing new standards and regulations for their design, construction and maintenance. The bill received Royal Assent on 28 April 2022, which led to it becoming an Act of Parliament.
The Act seeks to address issues that have arisen in the past, such as inadequate fire safety measures and structural failures, and to prevent similar incidents from occurring in the future. The Act applies to both new and existing buildings and aims to ensure that they are safer places for the people who live and work in them.
Key Highlights of the Building Safety Act
- The Act requires building owners and operators to regularly assess and maintain the safety of their buildings and to implement measures to mitigate potential risks.
- The Act creates a new regulatory body, known as the Building Safety Regulator, which is responsible for overseeing the Act’s implementation and ensuring that buildings are regularly inspected and maintained to the required standards.
- The Act establishes a new system for classifying buildings based on their level of risk. Buildings are divided into high-risk, medium-risk and low-risk, with each category subject to different safety requirements.
- The Act requires building owners and operators to implement emergency procedures and to provide regular training for their staff on how to respond to potential hazards.
- The Act also introduces the concept of the ‘golden thread’, which is a continuous and comprehensive record of information about each building from its design and construction through to its operation and eventual decommissioning. The golden thread is intended to ensure that important information about buildings’ design, construction and maintenance is not lost or forgotten. It is an important tool not only for improving the safety and performance of buildings but also for facilitating effective communication among the various parties involved in their lifecycles.
Latest Developments with Regard to the Building Safety Act
In addition to the above provisions, the government also recently announced its plan to allocate more than £8 million to support local councils in taking action, including legal action, if necessary, against freeholders who are ‘dragging their heels and refusing to begin repairs’, thereby failing to comply with the requirements of the Act. This is another important step in ensuring the overall safety and security of buildings and protecting the people who use them.
The funding from the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities will be distributed among 59 councils in England, with priority given to those with the highest number of unsafe buildings, particularly in London, Manchester and Birmingham.
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