Building Safety Act 2022 – new limitation periods for certain claims

The Building Safety Act 2022 (the “Act”) was given royal assent in April this year and whilst many provisions of the Act are not yet in force, there are a series of key provisions which come into force next week (on 28 June 2022).  These provisions include new (much longer) limitation periods for certain causes of actions.

The Act introduces a new provision in the Limitation Act 1980 which, in short, extends the limitation period for claims under s1 (relating to the building of dwellings) or 2A (relating to works to already built dwellings) of the Defective Premises Act 1972 (i.e. claims relating to dwellings that have been rendered unfit for habitation due to faults in their construction or in works done to them post-construction respectively) or s38 of the Building Act 1984 (i.e. civil claims for breach of building regulations).  Section 2A of the Defective Premises Act 1972 is also a new cause of action introduced by the Act and s38 of the Building Act 1984 is being brought into full force alongside the Act.

The new limitation period for such actions are, in short:

  • 15 years from the date of accrual of the right of action for works to dwellings (i.e. not their construction) or breaches of building regulations relating to any building.
  • for the construction of dwellings:
    • if entitled to bring a claim before 28 June 2022 then it is 30 years from the date of accrual of the right of action but if that period would expire between 28 June 2022 and 28 June 2023 then it is further extended to 28 June 2023;
    • if not entitled to bring a claim before 28 June 2022 then it is 15 years from the date of accrual of the right of action.

This means that for existing claims relating to the construction of a dwelling rendering it unfit for habitation then the limitation period is extended to 30 years (or 30+1 years if expiring in the next year) but for future/prospective claims it is extended to 15 years (including claims under s38 of the Building Act 1984 relating to non-dwelling buildings).  This means that there is no retrospective effect for the new claims under s2A of the Defective Premises Act 1972 or under s38 of the Building Act 1984 like there is for existing claims under the Defective Premises Act 1972 for the construction of new dwellings.

 

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