New building laws are in effect in England

Since the Grenfell Tower fire in June 2017, significant changes to the control of building work have been introduced in England as part of the Building Safety Act 2022. With additional legislation in effect from the start of October the phased roll out of changes for building regulations is close to completion.

From 1st October 2023 the Building Safety Regulator (BSR) is the sole control authority for building work involving higher-risk buildings (HRBs) in England. A HRB in England is defined as a building with 2 or more residential units and a height of 18 metres, or 7 storeys.

Local authorities and approved inspectors are no longer able to process new applications for HRB work in England, which requires approval from the BSR. Clients have a duty to ensure approval is given and to create and maintain key building information (golden thread information) through the life of a HRB.

Private businesses who wish to continue to oversee building work must register with the BSR by 6th April 2024 to be authorised as a registered building control approver (RBCA). When carrying out building control work, an RBCA must consult and consider the advice of a registered building inspector. The HSE provides guidance on the role of an RBCA, their legal duties and how to register here.

Inspectors must also register as a registered building inspector to carry out regulated building control activities including assessing plans, inspections and giving advice and guidance to the BSR, local authorities and RBCAs. After April 2024 it is a criminal offence to work as a building inspector without being registered. The HSE provides guidance on the role of a registered building inspector, legal responsibilities and how to register here.

Legislation in force from 1st October 2023 can be found on the Legislation Update Service and includes the following regulations:

The Building (Higher-Risk Buildings Procedures) (England) Regulations 2023

Works on new and existing HRBs require building control approval from the Building Safety Regulator, rather than the local authority. Clients and wider dutyholders have specific duties as part of the new building control regime.

The Building (Approved Inspectors etc. and Review of Decisions) (England) Regulations 2023

Clients, contractors, designers and approved inspectors must follow the framework of control for works involving HRBs as regulated by the BSR.

The Building Safety (Regulator’s Charges) Regulations 2023

The BSR may recover the costs of action taken under the Building Act 1984 and the Building Safety Act 2022 (the Acts). This includes the costs of applications and registrations of HRBs, inspections and reviews and appeals.

The Building Safety Act 2022 (Commencement No. 5 and Transitional Provisions) Regulations 2023

These Regulations bring into effect a wide range of provisions under the Building Safety Act 2022, the majority of provisions for England made under the Act are now in force.

The Building (Public Bodies and Higher-Risk Building Work) (England) Regulations 2023

Makes amendments to the Building Act 1984 to cancel notices where work to a building becomes HRB work in line with the new building control regime.

The Building Safety Act 2022 (Consequential Amendments etc.) Regulations 2023

Makes minor amendments to the wording of 14 local authority acts and the Clean Air Act 1993 to ensure consistency with the new building control regime.

Over 6 years on from the Grenfell Tower fire the majority of legal and procedural changes to improve building safety following Dame Judith Hackitt’s final report have been implemented in England, with proposed changes for Wales expected to be implemented in the near future.