The BSA was brought into force to improve safety in construction and management of high rise buildings. The issues that the BSA hoped to address include the following:

  • Confusing / inadequate Building Regs
  • Inadequate enforcement by Building Control
  • Insufficient engagement in safety by developer / landlord / managers
  • Insufficient focus on fire safety at design phase
  • Clarity about who should pay

The BSA has sorted some of the problems but it has also created problems of its own.

The BSA received Royal Assent on 28 April 2022 but the provisions within the Act will come into force in stages over an expected period of 2-18 months.

Building Safety Regulator

The Grenfell Inquiry identified that Building Control functions were not being adequately enforced through a mixture of privatisation and lack of capacity within Local Authorities.

A new body has been created to do the following:

  • Act as building control authority for work relating to higher-risk buildings (i.e. over 18 metres or 7+ storeys)
  • Oversee building control bodies and building control approvers (approved inspectors)
  • Advise industry on proposed changes to the Building Regulations

The BSR will have powers to enforce non-compliances with Building Regulations and will also have the power hold building control bodies to account.

The BSA also introduces the role of Accountable Person (anyone who carried an obligation to maintain the common parts – eg. owner, freeholder or manager) and Principal Accountable Person who is responsible for assessing and managing ongoing safety risks within a higher-risk residential building. The Accountable Person must register all higher-risk residential buildings with the BSR by October 2023. It is an offence if a building is not registered by this date.

Golden Thread

The BSA introduces 3 ‘Gateways’ into the development process for higher-risk residential buildings. Each Gateway requires those involved in the development to consider building safety issues.

Gateway 1 – Planning permission stage

BSR is now a statutory consultee that will review planning applications for higher risk buildings

Gateway 2 – Prior to construction

Duty holder must provide BSR with full design intentions in respect of building safety. No works can commence until BSR has approved

Gateway 3 – Completion

Duty holder must provide all as-built drawings, O+M manuals H+S file to BSR

The BSR will issue a completion certificate and register the building. It cannot be occupied until this has happened.

Changes to Defective Premises Act

The BSA introduces changes to the Defective Premises Act.

The DPA imposes a duty

….on anyone involved in the provision of a new dwelling

….to ensure that work is done in a professional / workmanlike manner

….so that the dwelling is fit for habitation

Any owner of a dwelling (not just the first owner) can bring a claim againt anyone involved in the construction (not just the builder/developer).

The biggest change is the extension of the limitation period for bringing claims to 30 years (retrospectively) or 15 years (going forward) – previously such claims were time barred after 6 years. This means that anyone involved in the design or construction of a dwelling since 1992 could be liable for latent defects. Note – this relates to any defect not just fire safety defects.

The BSA also increased the scope of the DPA so that it now applies to work carried out to convert existing buildings to dwellings and to extensions.

New Homes Ombudsman

The BSA sets out a framework for a New Homes Ombudsman Scheme. A form of the Scheme is already in place but it will be placed on a statutory footing in the next 12-18 months.

Its aim is to provide a forum for owners of newly built homes to seek redress against developers and builders.

Developers must register and remain members of the Scheme.

It introduces a code of practice that developers must abide by.

The Ombudsman will have powers to investigate and impose sanctions on developers.

If a developer is not registered then they cannot sell properties.

The BSA also introduces a requirement for all homes to have a 15 year new home warranty.

Leaseholder protection

Historically a landlord would recover the cost of remedial work to a building from leaseholders via their service charge

This has now changed for some leaseholders where there are relevant defects on relevant buildings and the tenant has a qualifying lease.

T is protected from paying any remedial costs where:

  • Landlord is responsible for a defect or linked to developer that is responsible
  • Landlord’s net worth exceeds £2m x number of relevant buildings (not that RPs are exempt)
  • The value of lease is below £175k (outside London) or £350K (within London)
  • Works relate to removal/replacement of cladding

Where the above doesn’t apply, the tenant should pay a maximum of:

  • £10K (outside London) or £15K (within London) where their lease value is below £1m
  • £50K where their lease value is 1m-£2m
  • £100K where their lease value is over £2m

Important terms

  • Higher risk building – at least 7 storeys or 18m and containing 2 or more dwellings
  • Relevant building – at least 5 storeys or 11m and containing 2 or more dwellings
  • Qualifying lease – long lease, principal home, own no more than 3 dwellings in UK
  • Relevant defect – any defect that creates a building safety risk (spread of fire or risk of collapse


If you have any further enquiries regrarding the BSA, please feel free to contact our Construction Team and we would be happy to help.