One of the suggestions of the “Building a Safer Future” consultation from the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government, is the installation of a Building Safety Regulator. In this article we discuss this new role as well as the importance of the Safety Case.
The role of the Building Safety Regulator
The main role of the building safety regulator is to oversee the enforcement of the new, more stringent building safety regulatory regime for buildings within scope. Another function is to oversee the competence of professionals and trades working on buildings as well as building safety and the wider regulatory system as a whole.
The idea is to achieve this by reinforcement of operating standards and provision of professional guidance, proactive intervention and monitoring as well as enforcement actions in case of non-compliance.
The intention is that the building safety regulator and dutyholders work towards the same goal: ensuring safety of residents.
Here are some examples of how this could be achieved:
- Maintaining a register of all buildings in scope and who the dutyholder(s) are for those buildings
- Ensuring an effective system is in place for inspecting buildings and building safety information to ensure that dutyholders are complying with the regime throughout the lifetime of the building (using gateways, safety cases and other mechanisms)
- Ensuring that whistle-blowing, resident concerns and mandatory occurrence reports are effectively collected and acted upon by regulators and industry appropriately
- Establishing a committee, comprising of industry bodies, independent experts, building owners, and residents to provide cross-discipline peer review, support and challenge functions to drive competence
- Championing building safety and quality, and the interests of residents, including working with the construction industry to spread best practice and encourage innovation
Another important role of the building safety regulator is to examine safety cases for all building within scope.
What is a Building Safety Case?
The Accountable Person (AP) has to make a case to the building safety regulator demonstrating that hazards have been identified, risks assessed and appropriate mitigation put in place.
Creating a safety case is an evidence-based approach in which the dutyholder identifies, assesses and understands the hazards and risks involved in a building. It describes how risks are controlled and mitigation measures are put in place. This is to reduce those risks as far as is reasonably practicable. The safety case also describes the safety management system in place, including emergency procedures in the event of an incident. The safety case is tailored to each building and is proportionate because the level of detail and amount of information required is determined by the level of risk. It needs to be reviewed every 5 years.
Of course, a safety case needs to be prepared for existing buildings as well. In this case, slightly less information may be required.
It is estimated that the preparation of a safety case takes 12 to 24 days.
This is the final article in our 3-part series about the government consultation on building safety. In part 2 we covered the Building Safety Certificate and the Golden Thread. Part 1 was all about the critical role of the Building Safety Manager.
How MGR Consultants can help
We can advise and guide on all building safety related issues and provide physical solutions where required. Please contact us for a complimentary 30-minute telephone consultation by emailing [email protected] or call us at 0116 260 8630 or 0782 444 2159.