7th June 2022
The new Building Safety Act 2022 received Royal Assent on 28 April 2022 and is set to transform the way buildings are designed, built and managed. Natalia Sokolov points out the key features.
The Act puts considerable pressure and increased liability on developers and landlords, as well as contractors and consultants and product manufacturers during the entire lifecycle of the project and beyond.
The Act will become law in stages following Royal Assent, with the most important changes becoming law before 28 June 2022.
1) Extension of limitation periods: the Act has increased the timeframe within which claims can be brought against developers and contractors.
a. The Act places unprecedented responsibility on landlords and developers for the liability and cost associated with historical building safety defects. It amends the Defective Premises Act (DPA) to cover refurbishment and other works in addition to new buildings, extending the timeframe for compensation claims to 30 years after completion of the dwelling.
b. The industry has already expressed concerns over the impact on the PI insurance market, and rising costs associated with the extended liability. Contractors and designers may find themselves embroiled in claims long after completion of their developments;
2) New Regulator: The Act sees the creation of the National Regulator for Construction Products, with powers to remove unsafe products from the market and issue fines for lack of compliance. Claims will be allowed against construction product manufacturers and suppliers in certain situations for mis-sold products, or where a product is found to be inherently defective or there is a breach of the construction product regulations. This is subject to a 30 year limitation period, applicable to cladding products only, and 15 years in respect of all construction products.
3) Gateways during construction: these will be implemented at design, construction and completion to ensure the safety measures at each stage are considered and achieved.
4) Focus on building information: the Act requires duty-holders to maintain and keep up to date a ‘golden thread’ of all health and safety information about design and building management which must be captured digitally for the entire lifecycle of the project. The Act also requires the appointment of an Accountable Person to manage the building safety risks.
5) Protection for leaseholders: landlords may be obliged to remediate works where it is just and equitable to do so, instead of the leaseholder of a qualifying lease having to pay for defects. New Remediation Contribution Orders which may be issued against landlords, developers or persons associated with them.
6) New Homes Ombudsman: the Act will create a new mechanism for resolving disputes between housebuilder developers and buyers. Housebuilders will be required to become and remain a member of this scheme. Housebuilders will also be obliged to provide a new homes warranty with 15 years cover.
7) CDM Regulations updated: new responsibilities to improve health and safety standards will apply.
8) High-rise safety framework: the Act creates a strict framework for high risk buildings, including over 18m height or 6 storeys including changes to fire safety regulations.
If you would like to know about the New Building Safety Act please contact Natalia Sokolov