Building Safety Act 2022 – Changes to Building Regulations

There are changes to building regulations in England for new homes, extensions, existing domestic, and non-domestic buildings.

Building Safety Act (BSA) 2022 – NON-HIGHER risk buildings

The Building Safety Act was granted Royal Assent and passed into law on 28 April 2022. The Act was first introduced as a Bill to Parliament on 5 July 2021, as a central element of the Government’s response to the Grenfell fire disaster of 14 June 2017, in which seventy-two people died.

It is divided into 6 Parts, with the major substantive reforms are set out in Parts 2 to 5 and contains ‘provisions intended to secure the safety of people in or about buildings and to improve the standard of buildings.’ by ensuring fire safety and preventing structural collapse. The proposals are a direct result of the tragedy and recommendations by Dame Judith Hackitt in her 2018 review of fire safety and building regulations.

Higher risk buildings (HRBs) are both those as defined under Part 4, section 65 of the BSA (i.e., 18m or more in height or having at least 7 storeys and containing at least 2 residential units), and as defined for the purposes of the Building Act 1984 (i.e. 18m or more in height or having at least 7 storeys. HRBs also include hospitals and care homes that meet same height threshold.

The building Safety Act came into force on April 1, 2023. Apart from changes made to the HRB regime, from October 1, 2023, anyone appointed to undertake any type of building work in England will be required to demonstrate competence in their work and compliance with the new legislation as well as existing building regulations. For HRBs, registered building inspectors and approvers will need to register with Building Safety Regulator (BSR) ahead of the profession becoming regulated in April 2024.  Registered Building inspectors will need to undergo assessment, to demonstrate their competence before they are able to register.

This article and sections that follow are concerned with non-higher risk buildings.

Under the new Building Safety Act:

Registered building control approvers (RBCAs) could be private sector businesses that carry out building control work under the Building Act 1984 (as amended) (

An RBCA can be a standalone business, part of a wider company structure/group, a sole trader or partnership.

Approved Inspectors will change to registered building control approvers (RBCA)

The choice of building control bodies is still down to the client, they can either go to the Local Authority Building Control (LABC) or the registered building control approver (RBCA)

Building Control approvers must be registered.

Both LABC and RBCA must have RBIs

“An RBCA must:

  • employ registered building inspectors of the correct class and category for the type of building control work the RBCA does.
  • employ enough registered building inspectors to cover the building control work the RBCA is carrying out.
  • have arrangements in place to manage the quality of work done by registered building inspectors under supervision.” –www.

Registered Building Inspectors (RBIs) are to replace current Approved Inspectors.

“Registered building inspectors carry out regulated building control activities, which are:

  • assessing plans
  • inspections
  • giving advice to building control bodies that carry out regulated functions.” –

“Registered building inspectors work for building control bodies, either as employees or contractors. Building control bodies are:

  • the Building Safety Regulator (BSR) – higher risk buildings.
  • local authorities
  • registered building control approvers” -www.

Only RBIs can attend site visits, assess plans, issue plans’ approval certificates, and final completion certifications.

The new Building Safety Act requires the appointment of Design and Construction Duty Holders, regardless of whether it is a small domestic extension or higher risk building.

The duty holders are the Client, Designers, Principal Designer, Principal Contractor, Contractors, carried over from Construction Design Management (CDM) regulations to the BSA.

Duty holders apply to all classes of building works, it does not matter whether it is a small domestic extension or high-risk building. However, responsibilities for non-higher risk buildings are less than that for higher risk buildings.

For small domestic extensions, client may not want to appoint a principal designer or principal contractor and may want to do it themselves or they may decide that the cost involved is not worth paying and all responsibilities default to the client.

Responsibility of duty holders are defined within the Act.

Duty holders have a responsibility to provide information to RBCAs or RBIs to help them make their decisions.

Duty holders will have to demonstrate that they have the appropriate level of competence (skill, knowledge, experience, and behaviour) apart from the client, for the complexity of the work they are responsible for.

PAS 8671 and PAS 8672 2022 define the competencies required of Principal Designers and Principal Contractors respectively.

Client has a responsibility to ensure that all duty holders are competent.

Building control application is broadly like the current practice.

Same requirements apply, although the information required for small domestic extension is significantly less than that for higher-risk buildings.

Building Control Approval applications now require duty holders to be identified at the point of application. If they are not known at the point of application, the responsibilities will default back to the client. There could be Instances where a client puts down the names of the architect/structural engineers as principal designers without clarity and should be avoided.

Statement is required as to whether the building is to be assessed under the Regulation Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005, requiring consultation of the Fire Brigade or otherwise.

Applications should include a description of the existing building, the proposed building works and how it is going to change the existing building, including details of the current use of the building, current use of each storey, height of the building and the number of storeys.

Minimum information can be provided at the point of application, but more information will be required.

In the past, building control inspectors made decisions as to whether schemes meet the requirements of building regulations. The new BSA places the responsibility on duty holders. It is not enough putting drawings together, there should be some information on the drawings or in a separate report that explains how the building is being assessed, the process being followed to assess the building, and why it is felt that it meets the requirements of the building regulations, that is all part of the building regulations including the charging structures.

Transitional Provisions

Transitional arrangements allow existing organisations who do not register as RBCAs, to complete any legacy work before exiting the profession. All higher risk building projects must be completed by April 2024. All non-higher risk building projects must be completed by October 2024. Any businesses not registered as an RBCA by 6 April 2024, or who attempt to continue working as an approved inspector beyond these dates, will be committing a criminal offence which could result in prosecution.

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