Important New Regulations Issued
18th September 2023
The building industry is on the cusp of a transformative era
The new regime includes new terminology, roles and timelines that are important to understand for any building work (not just HRBs).
New regulations were published on 17 August 2023 and each contains further details and definitions: The key regulations are –
- Building Regulations etc. (Amendment) (England) Regulations 2023
- Building (Higher-Risk Buildings Procedures) (England) Regulations 2023
- Building (Approved Inspectors etc. and Review of Decisions) (England) Regulations 2023
1 Duty to ensure compliance
The primary responsibility for ensuring compliance with building regulations lies with those who initiate building work and those who play crucial roles in the design and construction process. These duty holders are accountable for ensuring that work is designed and constructed so as to comply with building regulations.
2 Duty to be competent
It is essential for duty holders to have the necessary skills, knowledge, experience and behaviour’s relevant to their designated tasks. If an organisation is involved, it should have the organizational capability necessary to fulfil the duties.
3 Duty to cooperate, coordinate and communicate
Duty holders are required to work together effectively, maintaining clear lines of communication, sharing information and collaborating throughout the process.
The Client must ensure that their Designer/Contractor are competent for the work proposed and the Designer/Contractor must not take on work where they do not possess the necessary competence. At the end of a project, the Client/Designer/Contractor will be required to issue a joint written statement to the Building Control Body clearly stating that the building work complies.
Domestic clients have similar responsibilities, but if a domestic client fails to make the appointments, then the designer in control of the design phase of a project is the principal designer, and the contractor in control of the construction phase of a project is the principal contractor.
Architects will naturally become the principal designer in most cases. But if the client only appoints the architect to undertake planning drawings and the contractor works to these (eg a typical “building notice”), then the contractor would effectively become both designer and contractor, so undertake dual roles of principal designer and principal contractor.
This has huge implications for many small builders who are not insured or competent to undertake the design role and make the compliance statement required at completion.
We would therefore urge our clients to ensure that they are working to a detailed set of construction phase plans and not to work under a “building notice”.
Impact on Your Project
This will apply to any new applications submitted from 1st October 2023 onwards
Submissions to building control will in future rely on the designer’s justification of compliance, rather than designers seeking design input from building control to meet compliance.
Architects (and contractors) who have, in the past, used the building control application process to refine design details will have to ensure full compliance with Building Regulations prior to submission.
Building Regulations are seen as a set of rules to be followed, which, yes, essentially, that is exactly what they are, but building regulations don’t need to constrict architects.
The Building Safety Act 2022 received Royal Assent on 28 April 2022, marking a monumental shift in the regulatory landscape for building safety in the UK.