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  • The Responsible Actors Scheme, as detailed by the Department for Levelling Up, Housing, and Communities, will limit developers sanctioned under this scheme to building sites of fewer than 10 homes, barring them from major developments in England, it has been announced. 

    The scheme recognizes and acknowledges efforts made by responsible developers to rectify life-critical fire safety issues in residential blocks they developed or refurbished over the past 30 years, with those joining the scheme committing to remediating numerous buildings, with non-compliant developers facing planning and building control sanctions such as the one to ban developments over 10 homes. The guidelines outline requirements for prohibited developers, necessitating them to notify authorities about their status and limiting their ability to obtain planning permission and building control approval for major developments. Exceptions apply for certain situations, such as emergency repairs and critical infrastructure projects.

    For the DLUHC Responsible Actors Scheme guide, please click here.

    • Building Remediation
    • Responsible Actors Scheme
    • The Building Safety Regulator (BSR) has published its first three-year strategic plan, comitting to assess about 40% of occupied higher risk buildings (65% of residential dwellings) by April 2026.
    • The strategy is a significant step forward, underlining BSR’s overarching direction and vision to galvanise positive culture change
    • Collaboration is key to driving up safety and standards

    BSR is leading a critical change in culture and behaviours across industry and the whole built environment. The strategic plan establishes a vision to create a built environment where everyone is competent and takes responsibility to ensure buildings are of high quality and are safe. This represents the most significant change to regulation of building safety for a generation and means residents and other building users can be confident that industry is working together to make sure the tragedies of the past will never be repeated.

    The plan details that in the first year of assessing occupied higher-risk buildings, it aims to have assessed about 20% of buildings which represent 37% of residential dwellings -  prioritising assessments, for example, any buildings with un-remediated ACM cladding will be assessed in the first year. By April 2026, the BSR aims to have assessed about 40% of occupied higher risk buildings, which represents 65% of residential dwellings.

    The Building Safety Regulator will:

    • improve the safety and standards of all buildings
    • make sure residents of higher-risk buildings are safe and feel safe in their homes
    • help restore trust in the built environment sector

    It will do this by:

    • delivering consistent standards within the building control profession
    • overseeing and driving improvements across the whole built environment
    • regulating the planning, design, and construction of new higher-risk buildings
    • ensuring those who are responsible for occupied higher-risk buildings manage risk so that residents are safe
    • working in partnership with co-regulators

    Commenting in the foreword to the strategic plan, Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, Michael Gove, said:

    “The system that regulates our buildings must be practical and comprehensible. The Regulator must lead the sector in creating a built environment fit for the future.

    “This first three-year strategic plan is a significant moment in this mission. It looks forward and lays out a solid foundation on which the Regulator can build its ambition in future years.

    Philip White, HSE’s Director of Building Safety, said:

    This strategic plan sets out the guiding principles we have put in place to keep us focused on our priorities in delivering the new regime, and we will keep it under continuous review. We will ensure we have the right capability and capacity to meet this challenge as our remit continues to evolve, working with others sharing knowledge, expertise, and data.

    “Our focus is clear and resolute as we oversee a culture of higher standards, putting building safety first. Our regulatory activities will be conducted in a way which is transparent, accountable, proportionate, and consistent.

    “Throughout the next three years, BSR will continue to work across all sectors to ensure that those working in the building sector engage fully with the new regime. Our aim is that people will see fundamental changes to the safety and standard of all buildings and increased competency among industry professionals that raises those standards year on year.

    Chair of the Health and Safety Executive, Sarah Newton, said:

    This is a strong, coherent strategy built on collaboration with all BSR’s stakeholders, with a keen focus on ensuring industry takes ownership and responsibility for delivering a safe system throughout the life cycle of a building. This must be front of mind for everyone. And everyone must be aware of their legal responsibilities. Collaboration and collective responsibility are key for delivering better standards.

    The BSR’s Strategic Plan for 2023-2026 is available to view here.

    • Building Safety Regulator
  • On 23 November 2023, DLUHC announced that deadline for applications to the Waking Watch Replacement Fund were extended to midnight 31 March 2024.

    The purpose of the fund is to help leaseholders by covering the cost of installing a common alarm system in accordance with the recommendations of BS 5839-1 for a Category L5 system, on a building of any size, where a waking watch is in place.

    This fund was designed to build on the original £35M Waking Watch Relief Fund (WWRF) that was brought into place for high rise buildings above 17.7m in height, due to unsafe cladding.

    Read more about the Waking Watch Replacement Fund here.

    • Building Safety Act
  • A recent FTT case has highlighted the consequences for a landlord where they fail to produce the landlord’s certificate. We are grateful to Cassandra Zanelli of Property Management Legal Services for the information provided.

    Access the case here.

    • Building Safety Act
  • The Property Institute was one of a number of stakeholders who flagged what appeared to be a rather obvious error with section 119 of the Building Safety Act 2022. As agents will know, where a lease is extended, by operation of law the original lease is surrendered and a new lease is then granted. The original drafting of section 119 explained that a qualifying lease had to be held at the qualifying time, i.e. 14th February 2022. This meant that if a qualifying leaseholder extended their lease, that they surrendered their existing lease and were granted a new lease.  As the new lease will not have been granted before 14 February 2022, the statutory leaseholder protections in the Building Safety Act 2022 could not apply. 

    DLUHC proceeded to update their guidance, indicating that they were “..looking to legislate to resolve this issue as soon as Parliamentary time allows”.  We now have the legislation in the form of the Levelling-up and Regeneration Act 2023, which received Royal Assent on 26th October.

    Section 243 of the Levelling-up and Regeneration Act 2023 inserts a new section 119A into the Building Safety Act.  It introduces the concept of a “connected replacement lease”.  A connected replacement lease will also be a qualifying lease where the new lease replaces a qualifying lease.

    This new provision will have retrospective effect.  This means that any losses of qualifying status will be reversed.

    The new provision will come into force at the end of the period of two months beginning with the day on which the Act is passed (i.e. 26th December 2023).

    • Building Remediation
    • Leaseholder Protections