What are we going to do?
The Building Safety Bill introduces a more stringent regulatory framework in design and construction led by the Building Safety Regulator for new high-rise residential buildings, care homes and hospitals which are 18 metres or more in height, or at least seven storeys.
The new design and construction regulatory framework for higher-risk buildings will introduce the following measures:
- Competence requirements, those appointed to work on a higher-risk project must have the relevant skills, knowledge, experience and behaviours necessary to undertake the role. Organisations must have the right organisational capability
- Dutyholders that will have accountability and statutory responsibilities when buildings are designed and constructed -
- Gateways 2 and 3 which will provide rigorous inspection of building regulations requirements, ensuring that building safety is considered at each stage of design and construction
- Requiring a ‘golden thread’ of building information to be created, stored and updated throughout the building’s lifecycle
- Requiring mandatory reporting to the new Building Safety Regulator of fire and structural safety occurrences which could cause a significant risk to life safety
The new regime will strengthen regulatory oversight before building work commences, throughout construction including before major changes are made, and before a building is occupied.
This will give the home-building industry the clear framework it needs to deliver more high-quality, safe homes and liveable buildings, with clear responsibilities on those undertaking design and construction work.
What are the Gateways requirements?
We will establish three gateways at key stages in design and construction, and introduce new requirements during construction, that will apply to higher-risk buildings:
- Planning Gateway one – at the planning application stage
- Gateway two – before building work starts
- Gateway three – when building work is completed
Gateways two and three are stop/go decision points that must be passed before a development can proceed to the next stage, strengthening regulatory oversight of design and construction.
The Building Safety Regulator will oversee building work as the building control body for higher-risk buildings. It will work closely with local authorities and fire and rescue authorities, bringing in external technical experts as necessary, to make sure the right specialists and regulators are in place when making decisions on applications. Local authorities will remain the building control body for other buildings.
Planning Gateway one (does not form part of the Building Safety Bill)
Changes to the planning system, known as ‘planning Gateway one’ have been introduced via secondary legislation and went live on 1 August 2021. Planning Gateway one ensures the consideration of fire safety matters as they relate to land use planning are incorporated at the planning stage for schemes involving a relevant high-rise residential building. Find further details. Read the fire statement form and associated guidance. Find information on HSE’s role as a statutory consultee under planning gateway one requirements
Gateway two will replace the building control deposit of plans stage, before building work starts, for higher-risk buildings.
- Gateway two will be a stop/go point and building control approval must be obtained from the Building Safety Regulator before relevant building work starts.
- Gateway two applications must demonstrate how the proposals comply with building regulations requirements. Building regulations should be considered holistically with an outcome focused approach which includes appropriate consideration of building safety. Dutyholders should not consider compliance with building regulations as a tick-box exercise.
- All plans and documents must be realistic for the building and not rely on unreasonable assumptions about the occupied building once built. This includes management, maintenance and behaviours and characteristics of residents or other users.
- Information will be required about how the new dutyholder competence, golden thread and mandatory occurrence reporting requirements will be met.
- Applicants will have to demonstrate that they have appropriate strategies to manage the construction phase to support building regulations compliance and reduce the possibility of building safety risks arising. This will include change management, competence management, and how compliance will be evidenced to boost accountability.
- A staged plans approach (with a series of stop/go points) will be available. Through this approach, building control approval will strictly be limited to the approved stages of work and applicants will need to submit plans and documents for other stages of work, obtaining building control approval to proceed before commencing work on those stages.
- The Building Safety Regulator will have strong enforcement tools where building work commences without first obtaining building control approval.
During construction (between Gateways two and three)
During construction, those involved in the design and construction process will be subject to ongoing requirements to:
Meet their dutyholder duties including co-operation, co-ordination, communication and competence in the design and construction of high-quality buildings.
- Follow the statutory change management requirements where deviations from the building control approval are proposed.
- Major changes will require building control approval before they can be made whilst
- other changes must be notified to the Building Safety Regulator and cannot be carried out for a prescribed period. This is to ensure that the impact of proposed changes is thoroughly considered with proportionate regulatory oversight. The approach to categorising major and notifiable changes will be set out in regulations subject to consultation once the Bill has gained Royal Assent.
Meet robust record-keeping requirements, develop and maintain accurate building information to handover to the building owner at gateway three in line with [golden thread] duties. Information and plans should accurately reflect the as-built building to help them effectively manage building safety risks when the building is in use.
- Dutyholders will be under an obligation to report fire and structural safety occurrences (including near misses) in line with their mandatory occurrence reporting duties.
Gateway three will occur at the current completion/final certificate stage when relevant building work is complete.
- Gateway three will be a stop/go point, building control approval must be obtained from the Building Safety Regulator before registering and commencing occupation of a higher-risk building.
- Gateway three applications must demonstrate how the building work complies with building regulations requirements to provide assurance that buildings are safe to occupy.
- An application will be required including plans and documents that reflect the ‘as-built’ building (this will form part of the ‘golden thread’ of information). The information must also be handed over to the building owner to help them manage building safety risks when the building is in use by ensuring they have accurate, good quality, up to date information on the building.
- This approach should deliver culture change as building regulations compliance and building safety are considered throughout design and construction rather than late in the process when mitigation measures are needed.
- Partial completion (with a series of stop/go points) will be possible and will need to meet the gateway three requirements to assure building safety for occupants before the relevant part of the building comes to be used.
- Completion certificates will be issued if a gateway three application is approved.
- The Building Safety Regulator will have strong enforcement powers to deal with breaches of building regulations.
Only once Gateway three has been passed (either for partial or full completion) can the new building be registered with the Building Safety Regulator for occupation.
It will be an offence to occupy a new higher-risk building that has not been registered. Registration is a separate process to Gateway three.
How are we going to do it?
The Building Act 1984 is currently insufficient to implement the more stringent gateways two and three requirements. The Building Safety Bill will make amendments to the Building Act 1984 so that new provisions can be made in building regulations.
We intend to publish draft regulations during the Parliamentary passage of the Bill which will set out proposed procedural requirements for Gateways two and three, to ensure the public, industry and Parliamentarians have full sight of our proposals during passage of the Bill. These regulations will be subject to consultation once the Building Safety Bill has gained Royal Assent.
We continue to work with the Joint Regulators Group and industry to develop the detailed policy and procedural requirements for the new regime.
Dame Judith Hackitt’s Independent Review of Building Regulations and Fire Safety identified the need to strengthen regulatory oversight, enforcement tools, and accountability for building regulations compliance. The report made recommendations to implement a Gateways process for higher-risk buildings to improve the focus on building safety during design and construction.
Through the Building Safety Bill and forthcoming legislation, we will take robust steps to address the concerns and implement the recommendations by strengthening the regulatory framework for higher-risk buildings during design and construction and instilling industry culture change. The introduction of the gateways process for new higher-risk buildings is a critical part of this.
Why isn’t planning Gateway one part of the Building Safety Bill?
Changes known as ‘planning Gateway one’ have introduced new requirements into the planning system to ensure that fire safety as it relates to land use planning matters is incorporated and considered at planning application stage for developments which contain a higher-risk building.
Planning Gateway one has been implemented through amendments to secondary planning legislation, primarily to The Town and Country Planning (Development Management Procedure) (England) Order 2015 and associated legislation. The changes came into effect on 1 August 2021.
How does the Gateways two and three process differ from the existing building control process?
The new Building Safety Regulator will be the building control body for all higher-risk buildings. Applicants will not choose their building control body.
Building control approval must be obtained before starting building work, before significant changes are made during construction, and when building work is completed. Breaching this will be an offence.
New documents will be required in building control applications to demonstrate building regulations compliance, including careful consideration of building safety. These requirements promote an outcomes focused culture with accountability.
Could the new Gateway requirements cause delays to construction, how will this affect housing supply?
The Gateways requirements should help developers to get things right first time, which should reduce delays and costs at later stages and the need to correct noncompliant or defective work.
The Building Safety Regulator will have statutory time-limits to determine Gateway two and three applications, with the ability to agree extensions if needed.
There will be a staged plans route to obtaining building control approval at Gateway two and we are looking at how partial occupation can be dealt with in the Gateway three process.
Are Gateway three and the registration process the same thing?
No. Gateway three will take place when building work in higher-risk buildings has been completed. At this stage the Building Safety Regulator must be satisfied that as far as it has been able to determine the as-built building complies with building regulations.
New higher-risk buildings can only be registered with the Building Safety Regulator after Gateway three has been passed – either for partial or full completion.
Before these buildings can be legally occupied, the Principal Accountable Person must register the building with the Building Safety Regulator and identify itself as having overall responsibility for managing fire and structural safety. This will ensure that there is a clearly identifiable person to with the duty to manage building safety risks before the building is occupied.
What happens if building work is carried out without Building Safety Regulator approval?
It will be an offence to start prescribed building work without Building Safety Regulator approval and the Regulator will have enforcement powers where breaches occur.
The Building Safety Regulator will carry out inspections during construction. This could involve site inspections, requesting information such as the golden thread, or change control log(s), or other evidence of building regulations compliance.
It will be able to undertake tests or take samples of building materials by cutting into or laying open building work and will be able to prohibit the covering up of work for a period.