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New registration requirements for owners of 'higher risk buildings' in England

06 June 2023

Owners of higher-risk buildings in England will be required to register with the new 'Building Safety Regulator' by 30th September 2023. 

6 April 2023 saw the enactment of further secondary legislation pursuant to the Building Safety Act 2022 (the "Act") with the coming into force of The Building Safety (Registration of Higher-Risk Buildings and Review of Decisions) (England) Regulations 2023 (the "Regulations").

Pursuant to the Regulations owners of higher-risk buildings in England (meaning those which are at least 18 metres in height or have at least 7 stories, and which contain at least two occupied residential units ) will be required to register with the new 'Building Safety Regulator' ("BSR") by 30th September 2023.

The duties imposed by the Regulations apply to both existing and new high-risk buildings, (i.e. those which are either still being constructed or are simply planned developments). Each of these have separate requirements which are summarised below.

Principal Accountable Person

In all cases (i.e. where it be an existing or new higher-risk building), s.73 of the Act prescribes that a Principal Accountable Person ("PAP") must be identified (which is often the landlord). The PAP has primary responsibility for the internal and external structure and common parts of the higher risk building, and it falls to the PAP to register a higher-risk building with the Building Safety Regulator.

Existing Buildings

The PAP must register an existing higher-risk building with the BSR by 30th September 2023 and details of what must be provided to the BSR (e.g. information about the building including the address, number of residential units and height in metres or number of storeys) is set out in section 16 of the Act.

The fee for registration is £251 which is a per higher risk building fee, and failure to pay can result in the BSR refusing to register the building.

Upon registration, the BSR will request that key building information is provided comprising details such as the construction materials used in the higher-risk building and fire safety apparatus. The Regulations do not yet clarify the period within which the PAP must provide this information.

The PAP's duties perpetuate for as long as the higher-risk building is standing.

New Buildings

For higher-risk buildings which are under construction or for proposed developments, it is crucial to note that the building cannot be occupied until the PAP has registered it with the BSR. This is a strict requirement, and non-compliance by the PAP is a criminal offence, which could result in a fine and potentially, imprisonment.

The information required to register new higher-risk buildings includes the date of issue and reference number of the building certificate, and the identity of the issuing body.

The same per higher-risk building registration fee of £251 applies, and upon notification of registration, the PAP has 28-days to submit the key building information referenced above.

Conclusions – the clock is ticking! 

The Regulations do not yet apply to a number of buildings, including hospitals and hotels seemingly due to the fact that buildings such as these already have high levels of fire safety regulation in place.  Nevertheless, it is anticipated that the Regulations will impact upon over 12,500 buildings in England. 

The clock has already started to tick and owners of higher-risk buildings should set their alarms for the upcoming 30th September deadline. 

Whilst the Regulations of course mean even more duties, they hopefully represent another step forward in the strive to achieve better building safety.

Contact our experts to find out more about the points raised in this article.

Authors: Kate Monaghan and Dylan Higgins

Further Reading