The Building Safety Act 2022 – Impact for Commercial Building Owners
December 6th, 2022
Last updated: January 18th, 2023
The Building Safety Act of 2022 gained royal assent in April 2022 and introduced a variety of new considerations and responsibilities for the owners and operators of buildings. Both commercial buildings and residential buildings owned by commercial landlords are impacted, and the safety act has been introduced to improve health and safety, fire suppression, and other aspects of safety.
The act itself is pretty complex at over 250 pages in length. If you own a commercial building then it is definitely worthwhile taking the time to read this and better understand your responsibilities. You may be legally liable if your building compliance is not up to scratch.
In this guide, we’ve explored some of the key considerations for commercial buildings.
The Building Safety Regulator
This is one of the key things that this update to the law has become known for, the establishment of a new Building Safety Regulator.
The Building Safety Regulator (BSR) has a responsibility to oversee all buildings including commercial properties, with a focus on high rise buildings especially.
In the words of the British Government, it will “promote competence and organisational capability within the sector including for building control professionals and tradespeople.”
HSE describes the main functions of the regulator as:
- overseeing the safety and standards of all buildings
- helping and encouraging the built environment industry and building control professionals to improve their competence
- leading implementation of the new regulatory framework for high-rise buildings
This is a pretty broad remit and could cover many different aspects of running a commercial building, from fire safety and alarms through to the construction of the building and other aspects of compliance.
High Risk Buildings
The act also covers high risk buildings. This means that in high-rise buildings and those defined as high-risk based on their industry have more protection. The occupiers of the building can raise concerns they may have regarding safety, including fire safety, and the managers or owners will have been defined as accountable (as per section 72 of the act).
If the responsible person does not listen and make the changes, then the Building Safety Regulator can step in.
Section 38 of the Building Act 1984
Section 38 of the Building Act 1984 has been addressed, and if there is injury or damage caused by a breach of building regulations then a claim can be made. Though this was outlined in 1984, until 2022, it had not been implemented. This provision is not just for dwellings like some other aspects of the Building Safety Act.
As with many other aspects of building regulations, it is truly crucial that you meet your legal responsibilities. While some aspects of facilities management are nice to have rather than essential, others are actually legal requirements. For example, managing any asbestos on site properly, and getting fire alarms tested regularly.
It has been outlined that “higher-risk buildings” must be registered with the Building Safety Regulator by October 2023. If you fail to do so it is a criminal offence, so owners of buildings should start to prepare their building and be ready to both register and comply with the act well in advance of this.
Dutyholders and Clearer Lines of Responsibility
One of the main benefits of the Act is that it will enforce much clearer lines of responsibility throughout the design and construction of buildings.
This means there is always somebody accountable for the building, and they are legally required to have effective measure in place to manage the safety risks in the buildings.
The Building Safety Act also states that owners and landlords will need to contribute to repair costs if they are found to have failed to provide an adequate, well-maintained building in the first place.
A lot of the Building Safety Act of 2022 relates to the responsibilities of landlords, considering the fact that there have been some tragic events relating to residential buildings in recent years. However, there is also a requirement for building owners in a commercial setting to meet their responsibilities and ensure compliance.
Amendment of Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005
An easily-overlooked part of the regulations include some tweaks to the Fire Safety Order 2005. In commercial properties, a lot of the relevance of this surrounds the definition of a “responsible person” and assistance in fire safety provisions and a fire risk assessment:
- “Risk assessment: assistance
- (1)The responsible person must not appoint a person to assist them with making or reviewing an assessment under article 9 unless that person is competent.
- (2)A person is to be regarded as competent for the purposes of this article where the person has sufficient training and experience or knowledge and other qualities to enable the person properly to assist in making or reviewing the assessment.
- (3)Where the responsible person appoints more than one person, the responsible person must make arrangements for ensuring adequate co-operation between them.”
You can see the full list of amendments here. For advice on fire safety or help with a risk assessment, the trained contractors at Robinsons Facilities Services can give you peace of mind and advice on commercial buildings.
At Robinsons Facilities Services, we offer a variety of maintenance services to help you keep your workplace safe. We can work with you to advise on your requirements when it comes to commercial building compliance, and design a maintenance schedule suitable to keep your Yorkshire-based business safe.
Working across Yorkshire, we cover North Yorkshire, West Yorkshire, East Yorkshire and South Yorkshire and offer a fast, efficient response time to all breakdowns and repairs. Contact us today for all planned, reactive maintenance or emergency call out. Call 01423 226578 or get in touch to see how Robinsons Facilities Services can help