Building Safety Regulator seeks to enhance rights for high-rise residents

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New campaign empowers residents in high-rise buildings

The Building Safety Regulator (BSR) has initiated a campaign aimed at informing residents of high-rise buildings about their enhanced rights and protections under the new Building Safety Act 2022.

This legislation marks a significant shift towards improving safety standards across England’s built environment, with a particular focus on those living in high-rise residential buildings (HRBs).

Understanding new protections and rights

The BSR’s campaign highlights the critical aspects of the Building Safety Act, which is central to the reforms in building safety across England.

The Act defines HRBs as buildings that are 18 meters in height or consist of seven or more floors, including at least two residential units, categorising them as ‘higher-risk’.

The new laws are designed to protect and empower residents, allowing them to actively participate in safety decisions impacting their homes and offering a structured process for raising safety concerns.

Principal accountable person and enhanced resident rights

A key feature of the Act is the requirement for each high-rise building to designate a Principal Accountable Person (PAP), responsible for managing the building’s safety and being accountable for legal obligations.

Residents now enjoy enhanced rights, including assurances that safety risks are being addressed, access to information on safety improvements, and the empowerment to voice concerns with the confidence that they will be taken seriously.

BSR’s role in ensuring safety

The BSR, operating within the Health and Safety Executive, plays a pivotal role in the government’s response to the Grenfell fire tragedy.

It aims to ensure the safety of HRBs by overseeing how buildings are managed and reviewing compliance with duties by the PAP.

Philip White, Director of Building Safety at the Health and Safety Executive, emphasised the importance of resident involvement: “Residents are at the heart of our regulatory efforts.

“It’s vital for us to amplify their voices and to recognise the role they play in the safety of their buildings.

“Safety standards in high-rise buildings must be assessed and managed by the Principal Accountable Person (PAP).

“The regulator will review how the building is managed and whether the PAP has complied with their duties.”

The BSR has also established a residents’ panel, comprising members from the diverse community of high-rise building residents.

The panel plays a crucial role in the regulator’s programme, offering insights based on their experiences to inform regulatory practices.

Marlene Price BEM, a member of the BSR Residents Panel, highlighted the importance of safety in residential buildings: “Everyone should feel safe in their home, including the millions of people who live in high-rise buildings. The Building Safety Regulator is working to make this ambition a reality.”

IFSJ Comment

The BSR’s campaign to inform high-rise residents of their new rights under the Building Safety Act 2022 is a commendable step towards enhancing building safety standards.

By focusing on resident empowerment and participation, the initiative recognises the crucial role individuals play in ensuring their living environments are safe.

The introduction of the Principal Accountable Person (PAP) duty further solidifies the commitment to accountability and transparency in managing the safety of high-rise buildings.

As the industry continues to evolve, such measures are essential in fostering a culture of safety and responsiveness to the needs of high-rise residents.

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