What are the fundamentals of the Building Safety Act? - Boodle Hatfield

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22 May 2024

What are the fundamentals of the Building Safety Act?

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The Building Safety Act ("The Act") is a significant piece of primary legislation which was granted Royal Assent on 28 April 2022. Since then, a raft of subsequent legislation has continued to bring The Act into force. This is a substantial piece of new legislation for the residential property industry which is far reaching and has stringent enforcement penalties.

For those who work in the residential property industry the legislation may seem large, unwieldy and difficult to find a place to start, however it is critical that legal advice is sought as soon as possible if you haven’t done so already, so you can ensure you are compliant and minimise the risk of enforcement.


The Act which looks to address the findings following the tragic fire at Grenfell Tower in June 2017 is designed to take forward a fundamental reform of the building safety system, in particular with regard to higher-risk residential buildings, and address the issues identified by Dame Judith Hackitt in her review ‘Building A Safer Future’.

The Act is divided into six parts, with the majority of the substantive detail and reforms set out in parts two to five coming into force through secondary legislation post April 2022:

  • Part 1: Introduction
  • Part 2: The Regulator and its Functions
  • Part 3: Building Act 1984
  • Part 4: Higher-Risk Buildings
  • Part 5: Other Provision about Safety, Standards, etc.
  • Part 6: General

The aim of the Act

The Act is designed to provide far-reaching protections for qualifying leaseholders from the costs associated with remediating historical building safety defects, and an ambitious toolkit of measures that will allow those responsible for building safety defects to be held to account. Residents in higher-risk buildings will have more say in how their building is kept safe and will be able to raise building safety concerns directly to the owners and managers of their buildings known as Accountable Persons and Principal Accountable Persons.

Through the introduction of Gateways and a new Building Safety Regulator works to, and the new build of, higher-risk buildings is now subject to more stringent regimes and rules.

The new register of higher-risk buildings brings with it further requirements to be adhered to by the Principal Accountable Person including the golden thread of data for managing the built asset.

Who the Act impacts

The Act focuses on higher-risk buildings, which are those which are at least 18 metres in height or have at least 7 storeys and contain at least 2 residential units.

The Act impacts all stages of the building process and so those involved in planning, design and construction as well as those who own and manage existing buildings will have obligations under The Act. The obligations owed by each of the stakeholders varies depending on their role and whether they are deemed to be the Accountable or Principal Accountable Person for the building.

Where to start

Given the newness of The Act and very early stages of any enforcement by the regulator, there is little market precedent to help those in the property industry prioritise the various obligations according to risk tolerance .

To ensure you are compliant with The Act, all existing higher-risk buildings should have been registered on The Act’s register by the Principle Accountable Person – the deadline as October 2023. For new-builds they should be registered by the Principle Accountable Person prior to occupation by residents.

Seeking legal advice is critical to help you become compliant with The Act as early as possible as well as assigning a team to help you work through and implement all the requirements.

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