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10 May 2024 < Back

What does the Building Safety Act mean for members?

The Building Safety Act was launched in 2022 to protect the safety of people in and about buildings, and to the standard of buildings itself. 

Although the Act came about from a disaster in Grenfell Towers, a high-rise building (HRB) in 2017, there is a common misconception that the Building Safety Act only applies to those who install or maintain buildings over 18 metres in height. The Act applies to all buildings and includes additional requirements for HRBs.

The Act defines responsibilities of individuals: accountable persons, building owners, landlords and developers and dutyholders and introduces new systems and requirements including:

  • Building Control, which is now a regulated profession 
  • The golden thread, a digital repository of building information to provide those employed to do a job, with the facts they need to undertake building and maintenance work safely
  • Gateway stages for HRBs, which must be completed and signed off before planning permission is granted, before building work can begin and before a building can be occupied 
  • Mandatory Occurrence Reporting to the new Building Safety Regulator (BSR) of fire and structural safety occurrences which could cause a significant risk to life. 

Although many of our members won’t regularly work on HRBs, competence must be demonstrated across all building work. The Building Safety Act defines competence as having the appropriate skills, knowledge, experience and behaviours and anyone carrying out design, construction and refurbishment work must be competent in their roles. 

Before carrying out any works you must be confident that: 

  • You and any staff working on the project, are competent to carry out the work you have been engaged to deliver 
  • Your supply chain, sub-contractors and designers are competent to carry out the work you have engaged them with
  • You have organisational capability to fulfil your roles, including appropriate management policies, procedures, systems and resources
  • You install products as specified by the designer, considering the whole system and its surroundings. Where the design needs to change, will the new product combination work as part of the proposed system?
  • You have understood and installed works to the relevant Building Regulations and technical best practice.

What is the position in Scotland and Northern Ireland?

Only elements of the Building Safety Act are applicable to Scotland. However the Scottish government’s 2018 Review Panel on Building Standards Compliance and Enforcement, has made several recommendations and an early adopter scheme has been launched before legislation comes into effect.

The Northern Irish Department for Communities established a Residential Building Safety Team to implement the recommendations of the Improving Safety in High Rise Residential Buildings in Northern Ireland (2023), report. This is the initial focus of the department, with further aspects of residential building safety coming under its remit in due course.

What are the consequences? 

As far as we are aware, there hasn’t been a test case for competence under the Building Safety Act yet. However, the Building Safety Regulator (BSR) is now operational and will be focusing its enforcement activity on cases where action is needed. 

How will the PCA be supporting its members?

Over the coming months, we will be reviewing the sector training routes to ensure the training we offer new entrants and experienced practitioners, is fit for purpose and will enable you to demonstrate competence for the roles you carry out. We will share this information at our sector meetings: please do attend your relevant meeting to feedback to us. 

We will also be working with the various committees in the Industry Competence Steering Group to ensure our sectors’ training is considered as part of any competence reviews in future.

We are also reviewing our audit process and in the coming months will be undertaking our new-look bi-ennial member audits. These audits will support you in demonstrating that you have the organisational competence required in the Building Safety Act.

Resources 


The Building Safety Act will be on the agenda at the Property Care Conference (Wednesday 18 September) and Structural Waterproofing Conference (Thursday 19 September). Speakers across the two days will include Hanna Clarke, Chair of the Industry Competence Committee, Laura Beveridge from Visqueen and Gary Cass from Hertfordshire Building Control.

For further information or to book your tickets, visit our website

Sarah will be attending the Health and Safety Executive’s Building Safety Conference on 21 May in Birmingham. 

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