What are we going to do?
Through the Building Safety Bill, the government will seek to introduce reforms to strengthen the whole building regulatory system. The Bill includes measures to establish a Building Safety Regulator that will enforce a new, more stringent regulatory regime for high-rise buildings in scope, and also oversee the safety and performance of all buildings. Making the new Building Safety Regulator responsible for the key regulatory decisions affecting high-rise and other buildings in scope, with stronger enforcement powers, is crucial to ensuring residents are safe, and feel safe, in their homes.
How are we going to do it?
“The evidence overwhelmingly supported the Building Safety Regulator being established within the HSE.”
Pre-legislative scrutiny of the Building Safety Bill Report, Report of the Housing, Communities and Local Government Committee, November 2020.
The Bill will establish in law the Building Safety Regulator. The regulator will be embedded within the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) and headed by the first Chief Inspector of Buildings.
The Building Safety Regulator will have two objectives – to secure the safety of people in and around buildings, and improve building standards. It will also regulate in line with best practice principles including being proportionate, transparent, and targeting its activity at cases where action is needed.
The Building Safety Regulator will improve the safety and standard of buildings through three critical functions:
- leading the delivery of the new regulatory regime for high-rise and other buildings in scope;
- overseeing the safety and performance of all buildings; and
- promoting the competence and organisational capability of professionals, tradespeople and building control professionals working on all buildings.
In addition, the Bill will:
- enable the Building Safety Regulator to 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 work effectively together to regulate high-rise and other buildings in scope;
- create expert committees, including a statutory residents’ panel, which will ensure that residents have a strong voice in the development of policy and strategy within the Building Safety Regulator; and
- empower the Building Safety Regulator to charge fees to recover costs from regulated parties. The Building Safety Regulator was established in shadow form in the Health and Safety Executive in January 2020.
The shadow regulator has been focussed on assisting the government to develop the reforms, and preparing itself and the sector for the new regulatory regime.
The Independent Review recommended improvements to the regulation of buildings.
The government’s July 2019 consultation proposed to implement these changes (and in some areas, go further) through a new Building Safety Regulator.
In January 2020, the government announced that the Building Safety Regulator would be part of HSE, following independent advice from Dame Judith Hackitt.
In February 2021, HSE announced the appointment of the first Chief Inspector of Buildings, Peter Baker, to establish and lead the new Building Safety Regulator.
The Independent Review recommended that the regulator for higher-risk buildings should be funded through cost recovery. This builds on current arrangements, whereby Approved Inspectors and local authority building control charge developers for providing building control services to a building project. The government intends to implement the recommendation of the Independent Review around cost-recovery to the extent permitted under Managing Public Money principles.
Why is the new Building Safety Regulator part of the Health and Safety Executive, not an entirely new body?
The government decided that the Building Safety Regulator should be part of Health and Safety Executive, after taking independent advice from Dame Judith Hackitt.
Taking this approach enables the government to mobilise the new Building Safety Regulator at pace, under the leadership of an organisation with an established reputation, and experience operating as a proportionate and robust regulator, and experience collaborating with other regulators.
How will you ensure that residents are at the heart of the new Building Safety Regulator?
The government is committed to ensuring that residents are at the heart of the new regulatory regime, and that those responsible for managing higher-risk buildings must engage residents.
The Bill will also give residents a strong voice in the development of policy and strategy within the Building Safety Regulator through a statutory residents’ panel.
How will the Building Safety Regulator be funded?
We are going to provide the funding required to set up the Building Safety Regulator and enable it to deliver. This includes funding the Health and Safety Executive to set up the regulator, as well as ensuring that local authorities and Fire & Rescue Authorities are compensated for assistance that they will be expected to provide to the Building Safety Regulator in relation to high-rise residential and other buildings in scope.
In line with Independent Review recommendations, the Bill will enable the Building Safety Regulator to recover costs from regulated parties through charging fees. This reflects that developers already pay for building control.
We intend that the government will provide some additional funding where cost-recovery is not practicable.
How will the regime be phased in?
The Building Safety Regulator has been established in shadow form in the Health and Safety Executive. This will enable effective preparation for the new regulatory regime.
Over coming months, the shadow Building Safety Regulator will be engaging with residents, building owners, the construction industry, and professionals about how the new regime will operate in practice, and what they need to do now to manage building safety risks so that they are ready for the changes ahead.
Alongside the Bill, we have published a Transition Plan, which provides details of the approach to commencement of different parts of the regime. This plan provides an indication to industry as to when the new regime will come into force, however we will provide further detail during the passage of the Bill.