Apartments and office buildings in a city


  • The Health and Safety Executive has published new guidance today (4 April) on preparing a Building Assessment Certificate (BAC) application for Principal Accountable Persons (PAPs). 

    The PAP for a high-rise residential building must apply for a BAC when told to do so by the Building Safety Regulator (BSR) within 28 days - the new application portal is also live here

    • Building Safety Regulator
  • Today (29 March 2024), the government has updated its guidance calling for second staircases in all new tall residential buildings over 18 metres from 30th September 2026 – further enhancing the UK’s world-leading building safety standards.

    The change in guidance adds to a package of recent fire safety measures and reforms including the Building Safety Act which ensure the safety of people in both new and existing tall buildings.

    Existing tall buildings are also being considered as part of the Grenfell Tower Inquiry’s recommendations. The Home Office is currently considering responses to their consultation on personal emergency evacuation plans, to which a response will be published in due course. 

    Lee Rowley, Minister for Housing, said: 

    "The change in guidance to include two staircases for buildings over 18 metres provides clarity for developers and ensures both new and existing buildings provide safe and secure homes for all residents."
    Following a public consultation, the government announced last year its intent to set a threshold height of 18 metres above which a second staircase should be provided in residential buildings – a change which reflects views of experts including the National Fire Chiefs Council and Royal Institute of British Architects.

    This was followed in October by confirmation of transitional arrangements which set the timeframe for the new regulations and strike a fair balance between giving developers enough time to make the required changes, while also evolving our safety standards as swiftly as possible.

    The transition period also provides clarity for developers during a difficult economic climate and projects previously held up at the planning stage can now go ahead with certainty.

    • Fire Safety
  • Building control professionals have been given an extra 13 weeks to prove their competence, calming fears of an imminent collapse in councils’ ability to provide the service. 

    Under rules introduced by the Building Safety Act 2022 in the wake of the Grenfell Tower tragedy, building control inspectors had been expected to register with the Building Safety Regulator and pass through an accreditation process by 6 April.

    But recent months have seen accreditation bodies warn that too few inspectors would receive their qualifications in time for the deadline, raising concerns that some councils would be rendered unable to carry out building control. 

    On 13th March, The devolved government in Wales has already announced a six-month extension of the deadline for accreditation (extended to 1 October 2024) and today (14 March 2024), the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has confirmed there will also be an extension, albeit a significantly shorter one, in England. 

    A letter from the HSE’s director of building safety, Philip White, confirmed to the industry that there would be a competence assessment extension period of 13 weeks, shifting the deadline from 6 April to 6 July 2024. 

    Inspectors will still be required to register with the regulator to continue working, but those who do will have longer to demonstrate their competence. 

    Read the full story here

    • Building Safety Regulator
  • The Association of British Insurers (ABI) has today (13th March 2024) announced a risk-pooling Fire Safety Reinsurance Facility, with cover starting from 1st April 2024. 

    Reinsurance support is now in place to launch the Fire Safety Reinsurance Facility, in an industry intervention to help improve the availability of insurance for certain buildings with combustible cladding and other fire safety issues.

    The Facility has been established by (re)insurance broker McGill and Partners with extensive support from the Association of British Insurers (ABI) and through working in partnership with the British Insurance Brokers’ Association (BIBA) which will ensure brokers are made aware of the Facility. 

    It has two key intentions - to expand capacity for insurers already writing business for affected buildings and to encourage competition across the market so that more firms will provide cover. The ultimate solution remains the urgent need for works to take place to make buildings safe and resilient. The Facility is expected to run for three to five years whilst this happens.

    The first step will be for the participating insurers – Allianz, Aviva, Axa, RSA and Zurich – to enter higher-risk buildings they currently insure, and which are awaiting remediation works, into the Facility at the point of their annual renewal. These firms have continued to be active in the market and are the top five firms providing insurance cover for commercial and residential buildings.

    The Grenfell tragedy and Dame Judith Hackitt Review exposed significant construction and fire-risk issues related to these buildings. As a result, insurers have to consider the heightened risk of an entire building sadly being destroyed in the event of a fire and have had to limit the amount of cover they could provide, because the risk is too high for one firm to cover on its own. Brokers, Freeholders and Managing Agents have instead had to source insurance cover from multiple firms, meaning that several insurers are involved in covering one building, creating a ‘layered’ effect and adding to the cost. It is these buildings which will likely benefit most from the Facility.

    Buildings insurance premiums will continue to be based on a variety of risk factors, such as the type and age of the building, previous claims history and other property risks such as storm/flooding or escape of water. External factors such as construction costs and supply shortages will also have an impact

    More information and FAQS on how the Facility will work is available here and information for brokers representing affected buildings is available from the BIBA.

    Read the full release from ABI here.

  • The below is an extract from an advertorial feature in The Guardian, published 1st February 2024. 

    ‘The Building Safety Regulator was set up in the aftermath of the Grenfell Tower fire and aims to give greater protection to residents of high-rise buildings. One of its building safety leads explains his role in the drive to improve standards in the design and management of tower blocks:

    It’s completely different from the Health and Safety Executive’s usual focus,” says BSR’s building safety regulatory lead, Daniel Lewis-Hickinbotham. “Classically, HSE is business-focused, but by creating BSR, it’s now protecting people in their homes. For me, it’s a much more emotive area of work, because people’s homes are where they feel the most comfortable – it’s their safe place.”

    BSR is tasked with assessing the safety of approximately 12,500 higher-risk buildings – those that are seven storeys high or at least 18 metres tall, with two or more residential units – over the next five years.

    Once we’ve received the required information [for the Building Assment Certificate application], we’ll form a multidisciplinary team with the fire service and a structural engineer to make an assessment of the building and a decision on whether or not to issue a building assessment certificate,” says Lewis-Hickinbotham. “Our focus is on making sure residents are safe in their homes, and that the people managing these buildings are responsible for doing it appropriately.

    There’s a big learning curve ahead. “It’s a completely new regime, and these are standards that haven’t been in place before,” says Lewis-Hickinbotham, but he and his team are excited about the challenges to come.

    Read the full article here:


    • Building Safety Regulator