An update on the building safety bill has been issued by the building safety regulator. This update has given us an insight in to some of the major changes that we can expect and ultimately, what those changes will mean for building owners and managers once it has cleared its final reading in the house of lords and, ultimately, is granted royal assent.


……What has changed?

The biggest change (and probably the most impactful on you, as a Responsible person or managing agent, is the announcement that building safety managers will no longer be a legal requirement for high-rise residential buildings (HRB).  This, in turn, goes hand-in-hand with the abolishment of the building safety charge, which was originally proposed as fee that would have been recoverable from leaseholders to cover the costs of the new requirements.

In addition, the Secretary of State will be given extra powers to “impose requirements about new-build home warranties” through regulations. Effectively giving courts the authority to force developers and their associated companies to pay for any required remediation of buildings they have developed.

.….why the change?

These changes, yet to be introduced, are an effort to prevent the costs of any remediation and safety management associated fees being passed onto leaseholders.

“No leaseholder should pay the price for shoddy development and we have listened to their concerns, removing the requirement for a separate building safety charge and scrapping compulsory building safety managers, to help avoid unnecessary costs.” – Michael Gove


…….How will these changes will impact on your role ?

in its current form, once implemented, the new Building Safety regime will allocate the additional responsibilities of the safety of high-rise residential building to the “accountable person” or “AP”. The APs will typically be the freeholders/building owners, but can also be property managers who are assigned by the freeholders/building owners to take responsibility of the HRB. It’s worth noting that any such appointed property managers would be required to possess all the relevant safety; skills, knowledge, and experience in order to fulfil the duties of the AP, and that freeholders/building owners must ensure they have the necessary arrangements in place to meet their obligations under the new act.

As it stands, this role of AP can be filled by multiple individuals in one building. Where there are multiple APs, each AP will have the responsibility for managing the risk within the areas for which they are designated as the AP, with one individual required to be assigned as the Principal Accountable Person (PAP) who would be the point of contact for any and all legal authority and regulators

……What is expected of you now?

As a property manager responsible for HRBs, your clients may be expecting you to take on these responsibilities within your management contract. Its worth reviewing your management portfolio and your existing management contracts now and preparing your clients accordingly. Establish a strategy for future buildings – some may choose to add this management to their current offering as a competitive edge, others may not have the appetite for it and simply avoid managing HRBs.

If you do decide this is something that you would and could do for them, consider your competencies and training requirements and engage with the right support to build on your knowledge. It all takes time, so it’s worth starting the process now, ahead of the Bill passing as an Act.

As a freeholder or RMC director you’ll become an AP by default and will be required to take all reasonable steps to:

  • prevent a building safety risk happening, with building safety risk defined as ‘spread of fire and/or structural failure’
  • reduce the seriousness of an incident if one happens

The building safety regulator is anticipated to publish further regulation and guidance to supporting APs to understand and meet their responsibilities outlined in the new bill, once it becomes law.