October brings major milestones for building safety in England

  • Start of BSR’s new building control regime for higher-risk buildings (HRBs)
  • Registers open for building control inspectors and building control approvers
  • Compliance, competence, and leadership remain key under the BSR regime
A building inspector

On 1 October, the next significant phase of the BSR’s regulatory programme came into force. Mandated under the landmark Building Safety Act 2022 which represents the biggest change in building safety in decades, a series of important milestones in the establishment of the BSR come into effect this month:

  • BSR is now the building control body for building work involving HRBs
  • Registration of HRBs is now mandatory
  • Registers open for building control inspectors and building control approvers

The Building Safety Regulator is now the building control authority for all HRBs in England. This means that developers will no longer be able to choose the building control body they use for building work on residential buildings that are over 18-metres or 7 storeys with at least 2 residential units, and hospitals and care homes that meet the same height threshold. BSR will assess applications for HRBs, and building work cannot start until BSR approval has been given.

The new building approval process also known as Gateway Two, follows the introduction of Planning Gateway One (PGO) in August 2021. Under existing planning law, this established HSE as a statutory consultee for certain high-rise building developments. PGO ensures that fire safety considerations are inherent within the design proposals of these buildings before planning permission is granted.

A third gateway now also applies at the point of completion of an HRB project before it can be occupied. HRBs can only be occupied after BSR has issued the building with a building control certificate.

Crucially, as well as the changes to the HRB regime, anyone appointed to undertake any type of building work in England will be required to demonstrate competence in their work and compliance with the new legislation as well as existing building regulations. From this month, all building control inspectors and approvers will need to register with BSR ahead of the profession becoming regulated in April 2024.  We have already published the building inspector competence framework, known as the BICOF, and we have approved three Independent Assessment schemes. Building inspectors will need to undergo assessment under one of these schemes in order to demonstrate their competence before they are able to register.

Philip White, Director of Building Safety & Construction, says:

“October sees a major step forward in BSR’s regulatory programme and a new era for building safety, which places residents’ safety at its heart. This new era represents an unprecedented change in thinking around safety standards and regulatory adherence. We are ensuring tighter regulations, improved oversight, and promoting competence among individuals and organisations across the whole built environment.

Philip White in front of a mustard yellow high-rise building in a halftone pattern

Those responsible for HRBs have registered them with us, providing crucial information which will help keep residents of these buildings safe. 

“The registers for building inspectors and building control approvers also open this month and we‘re encouraging building control professionals to undergo assessment as soon as possible ahead of registration becoming mandatory from April 2024.

We continue to work in collaboration with built environment professionals across all industry sectors to ensure everyone has real clarity and understanding on what good practice around compliance and competence looks like.

“However the future of building safety is in all our hands. It now comes down to everyone in the industry to put the necessary measures in place to deliver on their legal obligations. Industry needs to step up now and lead the way”.

Find the building control application service and registers for inspectors and approvers at the links below: