Building Safety: new requirements for non-higher risk (including commercial) buildings

In a change from previous Building Safety Act legislation, new requirements have been introduced from 1 October 2023, which apply where there is more than one contractor (this includes subcontractors), or it is reasonably foreseeable that more than one contractor will be working on the project.  It is not limited to ‘higher risk’ buildings i.e. those over 18 metres or 7 storeys containing 2 or more residential dwellings, so for instance, purely commercial property of any height is caught.

The requirements are:

  • a Building Safety Act principal contractor, and
  • a Building Safety Act principal designer must be appointed; and
  • the parties appointed must be “competent” to fulfil those roles.

The duties attached to these roles are quite different to the principal contractor/principal designer roles we are familiar with for the CDM regulations, and they contain a new obligation to plan, manage and monitor the design work or building work as appropriate and co-ordinate design/building work.

The new requirements do not apply to any projects where:

  • building work started before 1 October 2023; or
  • where plans were deposited with a local authority; or
  • a building notice was given to a local authority before 1 October 2023 ;

provided that:

  • plans were not subsequently rejected; and
  • building work has started by 6 April 2024.  There is no definition of ‘started’ as such, but it probably means the undertaking of any element of permanent notifiable building work as described in the applicant’s application or initial notice.

These requirements sit alongside:

New building control approval requirements

  • Two notices must be served (rather than the previous one), the first before work starts and a second when work has commenced.  The time frame for serving the notices is different for higher-risk and non-higher-risk buildings. Commencement has a specific definition for this purpose and for the purpose of the next bullet point.
  • Building control approval now lapses after 3 years if work has not commenced.
  • There is also a significant extension to the period during which work which is not in compliance with building regulations can be required to be rectified; from 12 months to 10 years. For more detail on this see Lauren Michaelides blog.

New requirement for approved inspectors to become registered building control approvers

Approved inspectors must register as building control approvers by the 6 April 2024 but they do not have to complete relevant training until 6 July 2024 (this date has recently been extended from 6 April 2024). For non-high risk buildings, if there is an  approved inspector and they are not registered by 6 April, then if  the final certificate is not issued by 1 October 2024 the initial notice will cease to have effect.  (For higher-risk buildings, if there is an approved inspector who is not registered as  by 6 April 2024 then the initial notice ceases to have effect as from 6 April 2024 and the work is overseen by the  the building safety regulator).


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