On 12 April 2023 the Building Safety Regulator opened the registration process for high-rise residential buildings in England.
It is a legal requirement under the Building Safety Act 2022 for all high-rise residential buildings 18 metres tall or higher, or at least 7 storeys tall, with two or more residential units to be registered with the Building Safety Regulator by 1 October 2023.
The Principal Accountable Person for each building, or someone authorised by them, is required to complete the registration process. The registration service is now open and the fee to register each building is £251.
Guidance on how to apply to register can be found here.
The Building Safety Act 2022 gained Royal Assent on 28 April 2022 and makes groundbreaking reforms which give residents and homeowners more rights, powers and protections. The Act overhauls existing regulations, creating lasting change and makes clear how residential buildings should be constructed, maintained, and made safe. Full implementation of the Act is in October 2023, which means each building owner should have their building safety regime in place by this time.
Under the Act an accountable person is an individual or organisation that owns or has a legal obligation to repair any common parts of the building. Common parts are used by residents, such as:
Examples of an accountable person include:
Each building must have one clearly identifiable accountable person, known as the Principal Accountable Person (PAP). This can be an individual or an organisation, like a commonhold association, local authority or social housing provider.
If there is just one accountable person for a building, then they will be the PAP.
When there are multiple accountable persons, then whoever owns or has a legal obligation to repair the structure and exterior of the building is the PAP.
Accountable persons and the PAP can be accountable for the fire and structural safety risks of more than one building.
Accountable persons are responsible for assessing and managing the risks posed to people in and about the building from structural failure or the spread of fire in the parts of the building they are responsible for.
To do this, accountable persons must:
Accountable persons are responsible for the following parts of a building:
If there are multiple accountable persons for a building, they must work together and share safety information about the building.
The PAP must register the building with the Building Safety Regulator (BSR) and notify the BSR about any subsequent changes to the building’s safety risks or safety case report. They must also make sure that the structural and fire safety risks are managed properly for the whole building.
Accountable persons and the PAP cannot delegate their legal obligations to others. They can employ an individual or an organisation, like a managing agent, under a contract to carry out duties on their behalf. However, the accountability for making sure those duties are carried out and the liability for a building’s safety remains with the accountable persons and PAP.
If the PAP is an organisation, then someone within the organisation should be the single point of contact for the BSR. This individual should have authority or duties relating to the safety of the building, but this does not make them the principal accountable person. It is the organisation that is the PAP.
A Responsible Person is a role under the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005. In some buildings an accountable person or the principal accountable person will also be the Responsible Person. Where this is not the case, building safety information must be shared across these roles and any information shared must meet data protection requirements.
The BSR is an independent body established by the Building Safety Act 2022, and is part of the Health and Safety Executive. BSR will raise building safety and performance standards and oversee a new stringent regime for high-rise residential buildings, as well as overseeing the wider system for regulating safety and performance of all buildings and increasing the competence of relevant regulators and industry professionals.
The BSR will work with the accountable person or PAP to resolve any potential non-compliance. If the matter cannot be resolved, the BSR can take a range of enforcement actions, including issuing compliance notices and, in some cases, prosecution. In extreme cases, the BSR can apply for a special measures order appointing a special measures manager to take over the building safety duties from all accountable persons for the building.
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