Understanding the Building Safety Act

The Grenfell Enquiry highlighted the need for ground-breaking reforms to make the construction industry accountable for building safer homes. Two years after the introduction of The Building Safety Act, we explore its implications for the building industry, what it means for construction professionals and how businesses need to comply.

Why do we have a Building Safety Act?

The Building Safety Act was introduced in 2022 following the Grenfell Enquiry, which identified tragic failures in building safety that led to the subsequent deaths of 72 people. The Act has led to the biggest changes in building safety for nearly 40 years, designed to protect occupants and make them safer by implementing legal obligations for the industry.

What is and is not covered in the Building Safety Act?

At the heart of this legislation is transparency and accountability, ensuring that developers are knowledgeable, skilled and competent in designing and constructing all buildings, including higher-risk buildings (HRB).

The Building Safety Act has a focus on the construction industry providing buildings that are safe to those who occupy them, including:

  • Design and construction of new build and conversions
  • Management of safety in Higher Risk Buildings once occupied
  • Remedying of historic defects which would make buildings unsafe

There is a common misconception that the Building Safety Act only applies to Higher Risk or High-Rise Buildings. This is incorrect, it applies to ALL building work covered by Building Regulations with only a few exceptions such as Ministry of Defence and Hospital projects.

Who is the Building Safety Act for?

While the Act gives more rights, powers and protections to occupants, the implications for the construction industry are far more wide-reaching. In addition to overhauling existing regulations, the Act creates a clear and proportionate framework for the design, construction, and management of safer, high-quality buildings now and in the future.

To safeguard the regime, three new bodies have been created to ensure its effective implementation: the Building Safety Regulator, the National Regulator of Construction Products and the New Homes Ombudsman. Together, these bodies will oversee building safety and performance, manage the regulation of construction products and channel complaints for new-build residents and homeowners.

Five key areas of the Building Safety Act

To comply with the legislation and meet their legal obligations, those working within the construction sector need to focus on five key areas:

  • Knowledge of the safety standards of all buildings;
  • Assuring the safety of HRBs, both in construction and occupation;
  • Improving the competence of staff responsible for overseeing, managing and delivering works;
  • Ensuring clear communication of legislation and guidance;
  • Putting occupants at the heart of a new system of building safety

Maintaining the Golden Thread

 Dame Judith Hackitt, in her report, Building a Safer Future, recommended the introduction of a ‘Golden Thread’ to support duty holders in designing, constructing and managing their buildings, taking into account building safety at all stages in the lifecycle.

The Golden Thread comprises the information that shapes building understanding and the steps needed to keep the building and people safe. By maintaining this digital thread, building owners and managers can safeguard traceability with a rounded, documented understanding of the products, materials and assets used during the construction process, ensuring full transparency of the building’s heritage. For more information about our construction management solution which can support this, watch our video.

Complying with the new legislation

Building best practice into every element of the construction process and ensuring everyone, from architects and designers to directors, contractors and consultants, understands their responsibilities and can evidence their work is key to compliance.

Cube offers a proactive and solutions-focused approach to supporting construction management specialists. We understand the complexities of construction projects and the importance of compliance with the latest legislation.

What next?

Talk to us about our Building Safety Act Workshops and our Building Safety Act compliant construction management software, Milestone, get in touch today at hello@cube-cc.co.uk