Last reviewed 20 December 2021

With work underway to establish a new Building Safety Regulator and reform the building safety system, the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) is urging designers of high-rise buildings to begin preparing for the changes coming when the Building Safety Bill takes effect.

Currently making its way through Parliament, the Bill aims to implement all of the recommendations set out in Dame Judith Hackitt’s Building a Safer Future report and, in places, goes further.

The reforms include a more stringent approach to the design and construction of high-rise buildings, clearer responsibilities on designers to ensure these buildings are safe and new measures so that everyone doing design or building work is competent to carry out that work in line with building regulations.

HSE Chief Inspector of Buildings Peter Baker, said: “I encourage designers to act now and prepare for the more stringent regulatory regime. HSE will continue to work with the building design industry and related businesses to support them to deliver safe and high-performing buildings and ensure that residents of high-rise buildings are safe, and feel safe, in their homes now and in the future”.

People working on the design of a high-rise building, from the development of a planning application through to building regulations approval will, he pointed out, need to understand the building’s intended use, correctly identify the risks and own and manage those risks to determine the safety of a building.

There will be a requirement to record and provide evidence of decision-making during the design process, and a need to be engaged throughout a building project to handover to the end client.

Colin Blatchford, Operational Policy Lead for Gateways and Building Control at HSE, said: “Everyone involved in the design of high-rise buildings must take a proactive approach to managing building safety from the earliest stages of the design process. These changes are coming”.