Changes to Building Control 2023
CHANGES TO THE BUILDING REGULATIONS 2023
INFORMATION FOR DUTYHOLDERS
Background and what has changed
The Government has published amendments to the Building Regulations, which will apply to all applications for building control consent from 1 October 2023.
In addition, the Government has formed a new regulatory body within the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) called the Building Safety Regulator (BSR). The BSR will oversee many aspects of building safety, including Building Regulations and Building Control.
If you, or someone on your behalf, have submitted a building control application, you have new legal responsibilities from 1 October 2023 as a Client, Designer or Contractor. You must follow these legal procedures so that your building control application can be considered.
If you do not follow the procedures prescribed for your role, it will result in your application being rejected or reverted to local council control, which will require the same information.
Registered Building Control Approvers
Approved inspectors are independently monitored and regulated by the Construction Industry Council Approved Inspector Register (CICAIR) under the Building Act 1984. Under the new building control system all Approved Inspectors will need to become Registered Building Control Approvers (RBCA) which requires registration with the BSR.
The registration process will begin in October 2023 with all Approved Inspectors expecting to have applied for registration before 6 April 2024 when this becomes a requirement.
Registered Building Inspectors
Building control is to become a regulated profession, meaning that the job title ‘Building Inspector’ will be protected in law. There is a requirement for certain qualifications or experience to be held by individuals working within the profession and for them to register with the regulator (BSR) as Registered Building Inspectors (RBIs). This will become a requirement from April 2024 and applies to individuals within Local Authorities and those working for Approved Inspectors.
All RBIs will have their competence third party validated against the Building Inspector Competency Framework for the class of registration they are applying for. This will help ensure high performance and consistency across all sectors.
What is your dutyholder role?
The following table identifies who you are prescribed in the new Part 2A Dutyholders and Competence. The diagrams that follow the table summarise your new legal duties and roles and what information your Approved Inspector needs from you throughout the processing of your application.
Notification of Dutyholders
The Client must give notification to the Approved Inspector when they appoint a Principal Contractor (or Sole Contractor) or a Principal Designer (or Sole Designer)
The notice must be given to the Approved Inspector and include,
The name, address, telephone number and email address of the Dutyholder (PC or PD or both).
If the appointment is a change of Dutyholder (PC or PD or both), the name, address, telephone number and email address of the previous Dutyholder (PC or PD or both) and the date their appointment ended.
If the notice is given on behalf of the client, a signed statement from the client that they agree to the notice being given and that the information in the notice is correct.
Where the client is a Domestic Client, the relevant notices must be given to the Approved Inspector by the PC or PD and include a statement that the notice is given on behalf of a Domestic Client.
What is deemed the commencement of work?
Notice before starting work and notice when work is deemed "commenced."
To serve the Initial Notice, the client must advise the Approved Inspector of the date when it is proposed that sufficient work will have been carried out to deem the work as "commenced".
Where work does not involve foundation or substructure works, the client must state what they consider will amount to 15% of the work described in the Initial Notice.
Work being deemed as commenced is,
For the construction of a complex building,
work is to be regarded as commenced concerning that building or the first stage of building work when the foundations supporting the building and the structure of the lowest floor level of that building (but not the other buildings or structures to be supported by those foundations) are completed.
Where the work consists of (a) the construction of a building that is not complex or (b) the horizontal extension of a building,
work is to be regarded as commenced when the sub-surface structure of the building or the extension, including all foundations, basement levels (if any) and the structure of the ground floor level, is completed.
Where the work consists of any other building work, then work is to be regarded as commenced when the initial work is completed ("initial work" means the work set out in the initial notice, which the client considers amounts to 15% of all the work described in the initial notice)
After three years, the Initial Notice will automatically cease to have effect unless sufficient work (as above) has been carried out to deem the project commenced AND the client has given written notice to the Approved Inspector.
final certificate requirements
Where work described in an Initial Notice is complete, the Client must give to the Approved Inspector notice to this effect. The notice must include,
The name, address, telephone number and email address of the Client.
The name, address, telephone number and email address of the Principal Contractor and the Principal Designer.
A statement that the building work is complete.
A statement signed by the client that, to the best of the Client's knowledge, the building work complies with the Building Regulations.
A statement given by each Principal Contractor for the work and each Principal Designer for the work signed by the person to which the declaration relates and includes,
The name, address, telephone number and email address of that person
The dates of their appointment
Confirmation that they fulfilled their duties under the Building Regulations (see details of duties above).
You should note that the Approved Inspector cannot issue its Final Certificate without receiving the signed declarations detailed in the last two (black) bullet points above, as the Final Certificate requires the Approved Inspector to declare that they have received these signed statements.
Fire Safety Information
Regulation 38 requires information relating to fire safety to be passed on at the end of a project on all buildings to which the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 applies.
Under the Amendment Regulations we are required to make a statement on our Final Certificate confirming that we have received confirmation that Regulation 38 has been complied with.
You should note that the Approved Inspector cannot issue its Final Certificate without receiving confirmation that Regulation 38 has been complied with.
As with all Building Regulations there is some fixability on the application of the changes at the early stages of their implementation, these are called transitional provisions.
Work other than Higher-Risk Buildings
The Amendment Regulations, which include duty holder and competence requirements does not apply where:
an Initial Notice is given and accepted by the relevant Local Authority before 1 October 2023; and,
work commences before 6 April 2024.
For any new Initial Notices served after the 1 October 2023, the Amendment Regulations will apply.
From 1 October 2023, Building Control for alterations to existing, or the design and construction of new Higher-Risk Buildings (HRBs), can only be undertaken by the BSR. There are however some circumstances where approved inspectors may continue as the Building Control provider on HRB projects.
The BSR process will involve passing stringent ‘gateways’ at planning, design, and construction/occupation stages. The BSR has advised that they will administer this process by utilising the expertise of Multi-Disciplinary Teams (MDTs) which may include suitably qualified and experienced RBIs from the public and private sector.
HRBs are defined as buildings with 7 or more storeys or have a storey height of 18m or higher and contain either at least two residential units, or, during design and construction, are a hospital or care home. HRBs are defined in detail within the Higher-Risk Buildings (Description and Supplementary Provisions) Regulations 202310. Additional guidance on determining if a building is a HRB has been published by the Government.
There is some flexibility for projects which are currently being worked on by Approved Inspectors, these have been termed ‘in-flight’ projects. An in-flight project is excluded from the changes to the Building Regulations and Building Control system, i.e., they may continue to use the incumbent approved inspector instead of the BSR in the following circumstances:
An Initial Notice has been given and accepted by the relevant Local Authority before 1 October 2023.
Work is ‘substantially progressed’ – this means the pouring of concrete for foundations, including piling. Or where work relates to an existing building, when the work has started.
The Approved Inspector has registered to become a RBCA and employees a suitably qualified registered Building Inspector(s) before 6 April 2024.