A new regulatory registration process has been introduced this month for residential high-rise buildings in England.
The safety of high-rise buildings has been of significant concern following the 2017 Grenfell Tower fire, which resulted in 72 deaths and exposed serious flaws in the regulatory framework for building safety. In response, the Government has introduced new measures to enhance building safety, including the introduction of high-rise building safety registration, aimed at ensuring safety and accountability in their construction and management.
Under the new regulations, which came into effect on 1st April 2023, owners or managers of high-rise buildings - those over 18 meters or at least seven stories tall - are required to register their properties with the Building Safety Regulator (BSR), a newly established agency tasked with overseeing building safety.
The registration process includes providing detailed information about the building's design, construction, and fire safety measures, as well as the appointment of a designated accountable person responsible for the building's safety. The process should be completed by 30th September 2023.
One of the key-aims of high-rise building safety registration is to create a culture of accountability and transparency. By registering their buildings, owners and managers are required to demonstrate that their properties meet stringent safety standards, and they will be held accountable for any failures to comply. This is expected to encourage responsible management practices, including regular inspections, maintenance, and the timely remediation of any identified safety risks.
Registration also aims to improve communication and coordination among building stakeholders. Building owners and managers are required to maintain a digital record of the building's safety information, which will be accessible to residents, emergency services, and regulators.
“This is good news, as it should lead to more transparency and enable better collaboration in identifying and addressing safety concerns,” said David Reynolds, Head of Risk Management and Surveys at RiskSTOP.
“Hopefully, it should also empower residents by providing them with access to critical information about the safety of their homes and ensuring that their voices are heard in the building safety process.”
High-rise building safety registration is part of broader regulatory reform in the construction industry, which includes increased scrutiny of building products, improved competency requirements for professionals involved in building safety, and the establishment of a comprehensive regulatory framework for the entire life cycle of a building.
David added: “While registration in England is a further positive step towards ensuring the safety and accountability of high-rise buildings, there are challenges that need to be addressed. Adequate resources and funding for the BSR to carry out its regulatory duties are needed, as well as ensuring that all building owners and managers comply with the registration requirements.
“Tragedies like the Grenfell Tower fire cannot be forgotten and we must do everything possible to ensure high-rise buildings are safe for residents.”
Further information about registering a high rise residential building can be found here