Changes to the Building Regulations 2023
Important information for clients, designers and contractors
In this article, we’re delving into the upcoming changes in building regulations set to take effect on October 1st, 2023. These updates are designed to enhance safety, sustainability, and efficiency in construction projects across the UK. For a deeper understanding of the background and implications of these regulations, please read our earlier article here where we discussed some of the key principles of the 2023 changes.
Background and what has changed
The Government has published amendments to the Building Regulations, which will apply to all Building Control applications from 1st October 2023. 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 1st October 2023 as a Client, Designer or Contractor.
You must follow these legal procedures so that your building control application can be considered.
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 when all Approved Inspectors, including Cook Brown Building Control, are expected to have applied for registration before 6 April 2024, when this becomes a mandatory 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 (or Registered Building Control Approvers).
The regulations set out duty holder roles for persons and organisations who undertake any building work to which the building regulations apply, these are:
• Principal Designer
• Principal Contractor
The roles are modelled on those within CDM regulations and are already embedded in the construction industry. However, these duty holder roles now extend beyond Health and Safety and into Building Regulation compliance as well as setting out roles and responsibilities that also cover residential domestic building projects.
Identifying where you fit:
• A Client is a person for whom the project is carried out
• A Domestic Client is the same as the Client, but not for the furtherance of a business activity
• A Principal Designer is the Designer appointed under Reg 11D – is usually the lead designer
• A Principal Contractor is the builder appointed under Reg 11D – is usually the lead contractor
• A Designer is any person (including a client, builder or anyone else) who carries out, arranges for or instructs design
• A Contractor is any person (including a Client (but not a domestic client) who carries out, manages or controls work
Note: All duty holders must share information with anyone who might be affected within the Client, Designer and Contractor chain.
Your duties and responsibilities include but are not limited to the following at Building Regulation application stage;
• Ensure suitable arrangements exist to plan, manage and monitor the building work to ensure compliance with the Building Regulations throughout the life of the project.
• Take all reasonable steps to ensure any designers or contractors appointed are competent to carry out the work for which they are appointed. In practice, this means appointing the right people (with the right competencies) for the work.
• Notify Cook Brown when you appoint a Principal Designer and Principal Contractor with the following information;
• Name, address, telephone number and email of these parties.
• Details of any change in the duty holders and the dates of their appointment.
• A signed statement of authority that the information is, to the best of your knowledge, correct.
• Confirm your intended start date and ensure that we are able to submit an initial notice at least 5 days before works are due to start.
• The date and description of ‘commencement’ or meaningful start will be required at application stage. For new buildings and extensions this would usually be the date at which the foundations and ground floor structure is complete or for other works a date and description of a point where 15% of the work is due to be complete.
• The client and design team must submit a design that they are confident complies with the building regulations. Limited or speculative design information could give rise to Building Control Bodies questioning the competence of designers.
During the Construction Stage;
• Any changes to the duty holder roles must be notified to Cook Brown Building Control to inform us of the changes and any new contact details.
• Cook Brown will inspect the works at certain stages and you must notify us in advance of these stages in order to allow us to inspect the works.
• Regular monitoring of works to ensure compliance with the Building Regulations, maintaining adherence to designs, and checking the quality and performance of materials is the responsibility of duty holders. Independent checks should be considered during the course of the works, this is not the function of Building Control who will inspect a sample of work at key stages.
When the work is complete;
Each duty holder involved in the construction phase must provide compliance declarations to Cook Brown Building Control to confirm that they have fulfilled their duties and confirm to the best of their knowledge that the works comply with the Building Regulations. The declaration must contain the following information;
• The Client’s name, address, telephone number and email address.
• The Principal Designer and Principal Contractor names, addresses, telephone numbers and email addresses.
• A statement that the building work is complete.
• A signed statement that, to the best of your knowledge, the building work complies with the building regulations.
• A signed statement from each Principal Designer and Principal Contractor that they have fulfilled their duties under the building regulations.
Cook Brown Building Control cannot issue its final certificate without receiving these declarations, as the Final Certificate requires the Approved Inspector to declare that they have received these signed statements.
Regulation 38 requires information relating to Fire Safety to be passed on to the ‘Responsible Person’ 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.
A final inspection should be arranged when duty holders are satisfied that the works are complete and comply with the building regulations.
All necessary commissioning certificates and test results should be submitted as soon as practicable to Cook Brown Building Control.
• Ensure suitable arrangements exist to plan, manage and monitor the building work to ensure compliance with the Building Regulations.
• Ensure that these arrangements are maintained throughout the life of the project.
• Take all reasonable steps to ensure any designers or contractors appointed are competent to carry out the work for which they are appointed.
• The Principal Contractor or contractor must carry out these duties.
• The Client agrees that the Principal Designer can carry out these duties.
Is usually the lead designer and is appointed under Regulation 11D (principal designer and principal contractor) to perform the duties of a Principal Designer.
• Perform all the functions listed within the Designer role below, and,
In addition, you must:
• Plan, Manage and Monitor the design work during the design phase.
• Coordinate all matters relating to design work to ensure that it will comply with the Building Regulations if building work is carried out.
• Ensure duty holder cooperation.
• Ensure all designers comply with their duties.
• Liaise with the Principal Contractor.
• Have regard to comments from the Principal Contractor about compliance with the Building Regulations.
• Assist the Client in providing information to designers.
• Review the arrangements of any previous Principal Designer.
• Notify Building Control in writing, where applicable, that the work is being carried out on behalf of a Domestic Client.
• Where applicable, sign the declarations as referred to above in the Client’s duties when work is complete.
Means anyone (including the Client, contractor or anyone else) who, during their business, carries out design work or arranges for or instructs anyone under their control to do so.
• Plan, manage and monitor design work so that if the building work were carried out, it would comply with the Building Regulations.
• Cooperate with the Client, designers, and contractors to the extent that if the building work were carried out, it would comply with the Building Regulations.
• Not start any design work unless you are satisfied that the Client is aware of the duties owed by the Client.
• Carry out design to ensure that if building work were carried out, the design it would comply with the Building Regulations.
• Provide sufficient information about the building’s design, construction and maintenance to allow the Client, other designers and contractors to comply with the Building Regulations.
• Consider any other design work and report any compliance concerns relating to the design compliance to the Principal Designers and Client.
• Must advise the Principal Designer or the Client whether any work they are designing is Higher-Risk building work.
Is usually the main contractor and is appointed under Regulation 11D (principal designer and principal contractor) to perform the duties of a Principal Contractor where there is more than one contractor.
• Plan, Manage and Monitor the building work during the construction phase.
• Coordinate matters relating to building work to ensure the building work complies with the Building Regulations.
• Ensure cooperation amongst all duty holders.
• Ensure all building work is coordinated so that it complies with the Building Regulations.
• Ensure contractors comply with their duties.
• Liaise with the Principal Designer as required.
• Have regard to comments from the Principal Designer concerning compliance with the Building Regulations.
• Assist the Client in providing information to contractors.
• Review the arrangements of any previous Principal Contractor.
• Notify Building Control in writing, where applicable, that the work is being carried out on behalf of a Domestic Client.
• Sign the declarations as referred to above in the Client’s duties when work is complete.
Is any person (including the Client, but not a domestic client) who, in the course of a business, carries out, manages or controls any building work.
• Plan, manage and monitor the building work so as to comply with the Building Regulations.
• Cooperate with the Client, designers and contractors to the extent necessary to ensure that it would comply with the Building Regulations.
• Not start any building work unless they are satisfied that the Client is aware of the duties owed by their duties.
• Ensure the building work they are carrying out complies with the Building Regulations.
• Provide each worker under their control with appropriate supervision, information and instruction to ensure the building work complies with the Building Regulations.
• Provide sufficient information about the work to allow the Client, other designers and contractors to comply with the Building Regulations.
• Consider other building works when you are only carrying out part of the building work and report any concerns relating to compliance to the Principal Contractor.
• Provide advice to the Principal Contractor or the Client on whether any work is Higher-Risk building work.
What is deemed the commencement of work (meaningful start)?
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,
o 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,
o 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
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.
The Building Safety Act 2022
The Building (Higher-Risk Buildings Procedures) (England) Regulations 2023. SI 2023 No. 909
The Building (Approved Inspectors etc. and Review of Decisions) (England) Regulations 2023. SI 2023 No.906
The Higher-Risk Buildings (Descriptions and Supplementary Provisions) Regulations 2023. DRAFT SI 2023 No. TBC
HSE – Building Control: An overview of the new regime Gateways 2 and 3 – application to completion certificate Published 08/23