The new Building Safety Act came into force in April 2022 and was drawn up to make those responsible for safety defects in residential buildings liable to fix them and to protect leaseholders from the costs associated with remediation.
It is an overhaul of regulations that already existed and outlines how new residential buildings should be constructed, maintained, and made safe.
Three new bodies were created as part of the act, they are the Building Safety Regulator, which will regulate high-rise buildings, the National Regulator of Construction Products, and the New Homes Ombudsman, which will allow new homes owners to escalate any complaints.
It is hoped that these changes will mean that the homes industry will deliver better, high-quality homes that are free from safety defects. Cutting corners when it comes to safety will hopefully become a thing of the past.
How does the building safety act benefit leaseholders?
The Building Safety Act means that leaseholders cannot be charged for any costs where cladding (usually in buildings of 11m plus) has to be removed and remediated for safety reasons.
Those who live in high-rise buildings will have more of a say in how the property is kept safe and will be able to share any concerns with the owners and managers of the building. Those accountable will have a duty to listen to them.
Homeowners will also be given 15 years in which to claim compensation for any sub-standard construction work, whereas previously, this was limited to six years.
Leaseholders will need to take responsibility for the safety of their own homes. For example, if a flat front door is replaced with a new front door that isn’t fire rated, or has been compromised by the fitting of a letterbox or catflap, the leaseholder will be required to pay for any of these defects when the building safety inspection is carried out.
What does the Building Safety Act mean for the industry?
The act will provide a clear framework for the design, construction, and management of safe high-quality homes so that incidents like the Grenfell fire are unlikely to occur again. It will ensure that all construction materials are safe and will redress the balance so that those responsible for the current building safety crisis are held to account and must pay for their mistakes.
There are a number of holding points, or gateways in place and each one must be passed before the developer moves on to the next – i.e. planning, regulator approval, construction, and final inspections.
Any developer responsible for residential buildings will need to apply for a habitation certificate, which will show that the building meets all safety criteria. Nobody can move in until the certificate has been issued.
The Building Safety Act will apply to all buildings but will affect new builds first and there will be a trickle-down effect. It includes a new developer levy that is expected to raise £2bn over the next 10 years, which will be used towards the remediation of historic defects.
For more information on the Building Safety Act, the Building Safety Fund, and The Developer Pledge, which consists of a list of 49 developers who have promised to rectify safety defects in buildings they are responsible for, call Cladding Consulting. We have in-depth knowledge of all legislation past and present and can assist you with any aspect of safety defect remediation, whatever stage you are at in the process.