Building Safety - changes to the Defective Premises Act

The Building Safety Act 2022 (BSA) has brought about sweeping changes to the scope of the Defective Premises Act 1972 (DPA) and, importantly, to limitation. 

What is the DPA?

The DPA provides that a person who carries out work in connection with the provision of a dwelling owes a duty to ensure that the work is done in a professional or workmanlike manner so that the resulting dwelling is fit for habitation when complete.  The DPA is not limited to fire or structural issues, and nothing in the BSA changes to the DPA limit it to these issues. 

Scope Extended

The DPA has been interpreted to mean that it only applies to works to create a new building.

Section 134 of the BSA has added a new section 2A to the DPA which extends its remit to include refurbishment or re-fitting works, provided they result in the building being a dwelling. Importantly, it only applies to work completed after the new section came into force, 28 June 2022.


The BSA introduces two limitation regimes applicable to the DPA as follows:




Looking forwards


Looking backwards


Section 1 DPA – new properties


For properties which completed after 28 June 2022, the limitation period going forwards is 15 years



For properties which completed before 28 June 2022, a Claimant now has a 30 year limitation period, i.e. back to June 1992



Section 2A DPA – works to existing dwelling


15 years, as above


Other relevant information

1. The BSA gives claimants pursuing a claim under section 1 DPA an additional "initial period" where they are close to the limitation period an additional one year “buffer” in which to bring their claims.

2. The BSA provides courts with a discretionary remedy by which they must dismiss any claim if it breaches a defendant's human rights.

3. The extended limitation periods set out above do not apply to any claim which was settled or finally determined by a court or arbitration before the BSA came into force. Such claims therefore cannot be reopened.


In the 50 years since its introduction, the Courts have interpreted the DPA on numerous occasions. Therefore, while the changes, and particularly those to limitation are very significant, it is important to fully consider the basis and merits of any claim before embarking on its pursuit or defence.

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