by Bola Abisogun OBE | October 27, 2022 | 3 min read
“If you were given 12 months to live your best life, upon which you knew that your ability to conduct your current everyday existence would literally change forever; what would you do differently from today?”
The well documented event that began on 14 June 2017, where a fire broke out at Grenfell Tower – a 24 storey residential tower block in West London – resulting in the loss of 72 lives and as a result instigated the introduction of new legislation for the construction industry.
That is the context, as leaders across and operating within the social (and private) housing sector, that we need to embrace given our newfound obligation, legislated under the recently enacted Building Safety Act 2022 (BSA).
The BSA contains six parts and nine Schedules, with provisions intended to secure the safety of people in or around buildings and the overarching need to improve the standard / quality of built assets. At the core of this ambition (and new obligation), is the pivotal duality to mitigate fire spread and/or structural collapse. Since the day the BSA was given Royal Assent (being 28.04.22), there exists an urgent need to address much needed cultural change, particularly aligned to and seen through an empathetic lens.
Apart from the wider celebration of Black History Month, October 2022 marks a period of 12 months for the sector to transition and deliver a wholesale and fundamental reform of the building safety system called for and articulated in the independent review of Building Regulations. Conducted by Dame Judith Hackitt and published on 17 May 2018, the report led to the establishment of a new Building Safety Regulator (BSR), domiciled within the existing Health and Safety Executive (HSE), which will seek to uphold new objectives and functions.
The consequence of failure for any Accountable Person / Duty Holder could be catastrophic for the individuals concerned, and anyone who is responsible for appointing a designer or contractor to carry out any building work or any design work. They must undertake all reasonable steps to satisfy themselves that there exists a greater appreciation of and reliance upon competence and capability.
A key requirement of the BSA is the need to create, hold and maintain the golden thread of information, retained in an interoperable, digital format. The golden thread and key building information required to be submitted, must be done so, no later than the date of completion of the higher risk building work, which must be submitted to the Regulator; and include:
The BSA also creates powers to make regulation to require construction products to be safe before they can be placed on the UK market; and create a statutory list of ‘safety critical’ construction product standards.
The time has come for us all to ‘step up’ and be more accountable to our customers and wider society. As a result, our legal requirement is no longer optional, full scale cultural change is now a requirement. Therefore, what do you plan to do in your next 12 months?
To learn more about building safety requirements under the new BSA and what needs to be done before the October 2023 deadline, contact Bola directly at [email protected].
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