May 2023 marks the expected opening of the registration window for the owners of existing occupied higher-risk buildings to apply to the portal set up by the Building Safety Regulator. All applications must be submitted and processed by 1st October 2023 in order to comply with the new obligations that the owners of these buildings have, under the Building Safety Act.

A higher-risk building is defined as an occupied building that is at least 18 metres tall or has at least seven stories and must contain at least two residential units. Therefore, this affects mixed-use as well as purely residential buildings.

However, it does not include buildings that have sole dedicated use as:

· A hospital

· A care home

· A hotel

· A secure residential institution

· Military barracks or living accommodation for military personnel.

There are estimated to be around 12,500 existing higher-risk buildings in the UK. All of the buildings that fall within this scope need to apply for registration within the window, so that the process is complete by October 2023. It’s recommended to start gathering the required information as quickly as possible to reduce the potential stress or rush further down the line.

How to apply for registration of a higher-risk building

Each building that falls within the scope of this legislation will need to have a Principal Accountable Person (PAP) and this individual is responsible for registering the building. While they can be assisted in the application by others, they remain ultimately responsible for it being submitted as required and within the deadline.

If a building has multiple owners, it can be a complex task to determine who the PAP should be, but this must be agreed upon before the application can be made. There is an online portal for registration, which the PAP must submit the application to.

The information needed for the application includes:

· Contact details for the PAP

· Information about the building, including the address, date of construction and the height

· Information from the building control final certificate for the building.

Then, additional supplementary information is also required within 28 days of the application being submitted, which must include:

· Details of the use of all parts of the building and any ancillary buildings

· Details of the materials used in the structure, including the composition of the external walls, insulation and roof covering

· Details of the building’s staircases, along with the types of energy supplied to the building and information about any fixtures that are attached to the external walls

· Details of the fire/smoke control equipment that the building has, along with the evacuation strategy.

At the time of writing, the exact format in which the application must be submitted is yet to be confirmed, but that doesn’t affect the need to gather the required details ahead of time. It has been made clear that any PAP that fails to meet the deadline for applications will have committed a criminal offence.

Higher-risk buildings currently under construction (transitional buildings)

If you’re an owner of a higher-risk building that is already under construction, or will be by the 1st October deadline, the building does not need to be registered before the deadline that applies to buildings already occupied. However, before the building can be occupied, the registration process must be done.

If the registration of a transitional building isn’t done at the earliest opportunity, it could cause significant delays between the handover of the finished building and when the residential units can be sold or rented out.

There are more obligations and duties in relation to higher-risk buildings expected to come into law later in 2023, although final confirmation of this has yet to be announced.

With these changes, it can be a daunting prospect for those developers currently working on, or planning to soon be working on, higher-risk building projects that fall under the scope of this new legislation. If you want one less thing to think about, we can assist with your structural warranty insurance and ensure that you have the cover in place that you need. Get in touch for a no-obligation quote.

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