Spec Finish

www.thefis.org 3 Voice of the industry THE NEWBUILDING SAFETY REGIME: FROM SHED TO SHARD, LEADER TO LABOURER, THE TIMES THEY ARE A CHANGING. T O set out its stall, the BSR hosted a conference in Central London in late March and themessage was clear, from Shed to Shard, Leader to Labourer, they are all about changing the culture of construction. A commonmisnomer is that the Building Safety Act is all about High-Risk Residential Buildings, this was dispelled as early as the opening address. There will be a more stringent process associated with higher risk buildings, with new gateways, information management and registration requirements, but this is the tip of the iceberg. The alignment of the Building Safety Act to Construction, Design andManagement (CDM) nowmeans that for all buildingworks the Duty Holders (Principal Designer, Designer, Principal Contractor and Contractor) apply now to Building Safety as well as Health and Safety and we have a responsibility clear in regulation to focus on competence. So, for all of us the first question is “are you competent to do that?” and “are they competent to do what you are asking?”. There will also be a greater need to ensure that we are exchanging information effectively. So, the other key question is “what are we going to do?”, “how can we prove it works?” and “how are we going to do it?”. The question we’ll be asked at the end is “can you prove you did it like you said you would and are you sure nothing changed?”. The onus will be on information management and if the inspector can’t see it, how can you prove you did it? The other big myth is that all this change is just about Building Safety. Again, it was clearly stated that the Building Safety Regulator’s oversight responsibilities are broader and this is about ensuring all buildings meet all the functional requirements of the Building Regulations. What can I expect from this new regulator? Greater granularity and tougher enforcement. On enforcement, the new regulator comes with new powers to stop, impose fines and where appropriate even recommend criminal prosecution. Individual accountability is a big part of the new enforcement regime, and the Regulator is tasked with ensuring that those who breach the law, including individuals who fail in their responsibilities are held to account (this includes bringing alleged offenders before the criminal courts). Their focus will be on competence, process control and evidence of compliance. The Building Safety Regulator will become the Building Control Authority for all higher- risk buildings from 1 October. Work will not be permitted to start or buildings occupied unless they are signed off by the Building Safety Regulator (working with Local Authority Building Control departments). This is not the end of Approved Inspectors, they are morphing to become Registered Building Control Approvers and will be able to sign-off other building types (and many are gearing up to provide advisory services in the higher risk sector) but will be subjected to far more onerous competence and compliance checks themselves. Is it all ready? It won’t be seamless, but it is happening. There is a raft of secondary regulation still to be published and the Regulator and Local Authorities are scaling up, we need to be doing the same. At the end of the day this is a new regime wrapped around the existing regulations. Ultimately it is about checks and balances to ensure buildings built comply with the building regulations and that we manage responsibility and accountability effectively. My worry is perhaps less that the regulator won’t be ready or that our technical people aren’t up to the challenge, it is more that the commercial and procurement practices are not waking up to the need to nurture risk as a supply chain rather than bury it in a contract and hope for the best! IAIN MCILWEE Chief executive Finishes and Interiors Sector Since the last edition, without doubt, the biggest change to the construction landscape is that the Building Safety Regulator (BSR) is nowoperational. The creation of this new regulatory body has been heralded through SpecFinish (see ‘There’s a newSheriff in town’ page 3, January 2023 issue), but we are starting to nowseewhat thiswill look like in action.

RkJQdWJsaXNoZXIy Mzg1Mw==