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The new Building Safety Regime – is it on your radar?

The Building Safety Act (April 2022) is the foundation of a new, wider Building Safety Regime for the construction sector, and it holds huge significance, says Richard Catt.

I NEVER cease to marvel at the diversity of the modern world, and you don’t have to look too far to realise that construction is made up of a huge number of trades and disciplines. Each of these has levels of expertise and regulation that are often complex. In the very big picture, one of the key changes to the wider construction industry that is happening at the moment is the new Building Safety Regime.

The Building Safety Regime was developed after the tragic events of the Grenfell Tower Fire and recommendations made by the Hackitt report. Following that awful tragedy, the CFA has monitored developments and at each stage consulted with members to ensure that we respond where required. The primary focus was, and to date remains, external cladding systems but the Building Safety Act became law in April 2022 and is the foundation of a new wider Building Safety Regime for the construction sector. A significant amount of secondary legislation is still being developed and this has the potential to have implication for the flooring and finishing sectors. Fortunately, my understanding is that flooring and the systems we use do not significantly contribute to the spread of flame and manufacturer and testing was already designed to consider an assembly of products used within specifications to ensure they are safe. As such, I suspect that going forward one of the key changes for our sector will be greater requirement and emphasis placed on record keeping and proving competency. Whilst you can’t put a price on safety, it would be foolish to ignore (and prepare for) the realities of delivering the new regime. It seems clear to me that for the wider construction industry, compliance (for high rise structures), will create a huge amount of additional activity and cost.

I really cannot emphasise how great an impact I feel this will have on main contractors going forward. The Building Safety Act creates three new regulators: The Building Safety Regulator, National Safety Regulator for Construction Products and the New Homes Ombudsman. The ACT defines new responsibilities ie, Accountable Persons for high rise buildings around safety. Building owners, landlords and developers are required to pay for defects and may need to pay a levy on new residential properties. Duty holders are required to manage building safety risks during the design and construction of buildings.

Building control will become a new regulated profession. Competence will be required of all individuals appointed to work on projects and gateways are decision points at three key stages for high-risk buildings. Before planning permission is granted, before building work can commence and before a building can be occupied. There will be a golden thread of information that must be created and stored digitally and updated throughout the life cycle of a higher risk building and mandatory and voluntary reporting of fire and structural safety occurrences.

It is not entirely clear what all the ramifications are for our sector and how we may need to respond, but if you haven’t already got a sense of this developing picture, it is definitely worth engaging sooner rather than later to begin your journey and ensure you can respond if required. Build UK are leading for main contractors and specialists and CPA for manufacturers and suppliers. Build UK have created an excellent guide and broad overview available on their website should you wish to do a deeper dive now. CPA are of course also having an enormous amount of input into the product regulations, including initiatives such as the Code for Construction Product Information (CCPI) that also came out of the Hackett report and is now set up as a separate business.

CFA will ensure that our members, across the supply chain, are updated as things develop and with key sector specific information.

The CFA is a leading trade association representing the flooring Industry. If you would like further information or an application pack outlining all the benefits of membership, please contact the CFA offices.
0115 9411126

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