The Building Safety Bill has now been introduced to the House of Commons and will begin its passage through Parliament. The new regime covers the construction and major refurbishment of buildings and applies to high-rise high-risk residential blocks; referred to as buildings in scope.

A critical part of the Building Safety Bill is the introduction of the Golden Thread of Information; a concept proposed by Dame Judith Hackitt in her report. In May this year, the Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government (MHCLG) approved the Building Regulations Advisory Committee (BRAC) Golden Thread Working Group’s definition and principles; marking a significant step towards the establishment of the Golden Thread within industry.

As the definition will be included in the upcoming Building Safety Bill (BSB), it could be subject to change as the Bill passes through Parliament. However, you can find the approved definition here.

Three Gateways

Put simply, the Golden Thread is accurate and up-to-date records of all information for a building from design through to occupation. There BSB introduces the ‘Gateway Regime’ which identifies Three Gateways intended to support the creation of the Golden Thread of Information.  These are as follows:

  1. Planning Application – Principal Designer
  2. Construction Phase – Principal Contractor
  3. Occupation – Accountable Person

For each of the reporting gateways a duty holder is required to provide the golden thread of information to the Building Safety Regulator. Through design to construction the duty holder is the Principal Designer and then the Principal Contractor, and once the building is occupied with residents the responsibility falls on the Accountable Person.

The Building Safety Regulator should be able to use this information as part of their work to assess the safety of the building. If the information is not provided to the regulator or is seen to show that the building is unsafe, then the Regulator can prevent it progressing to the next gateway phase. For instance, if the Principal Designer provides information which shows the design for the block poses risks or if they don’t provide any information at all, then the Building Safety Regulator will not give permission for it to move to the next gateway; which is in this case, construction.

The Building Safety Regulator

The Building Safety Bill has formally named the HSE as the new Building Safety Regulator to oversee the safe design, construction and occupation of high-risk buildings.

The Building Safety Regulator is at the heart of the new regime and will be responsible for:

  • Implementing a new more stringent regime for high-risk residential buildings
  • Promoting competence among industry professionals and regulators to raise standards in design, construction and the management of buildings
  • Overseeing performance systems of all buildings, so one regulator can provide guidance on building performance as well as building safety, ensuring that factors like countering climate change are factored into regulatory decisions