Agenda item

Building Safety Act 2022


Members discussed the Building Safety Act 2022, which was a new legislation that enhanced the safety of high rise residential buildings. The Act introduced new duties relating to fire and building safety. It was applicable to the Council’s Tenant and Leasehold Service and the Council’s management of its social housing stock. This new legislation was designed to enhance the safety of high rise residential buildings; something that was of enormous importance, and significance, both in relation to the timing of this report, coming as it does one day after the anniversary of the terrible events at Grenfell, and in relation to the greater protections that the Council could bring to its high rise stock. The Council owned 6 high rise residential buildings over 18 metres in height that fell into the scope of this new legislation.


The Act also introduced the requirement of a ‘building safety case’. The building safety case was all the information about how the risk of fire spread and the structural safety of a building were managed. The case had to be submitted annually to the new Regulator for building safety to ensure that guidance was being followed. The new Regulator for Building Safety was the Health and Safety Executive.  This legislation applied to all high rise buildings, not just those in social housing stock, and tenants in privately owned high rises could and should seek assurances from their landlord/leaseholder that this legislation was being followed, and could contact the Council’s Private Sector Housing team if they had concerns.


The building safety case should demonstrate the following: 


·  Measures being taken to keep the building safe;

·  How the measures in place prevent and limit the consequences of a major incident in the building; 

·  Identify potentially harmful events that show the measures in place would stop or reduce the impact of a major incident (i.e. fire spread or structural failure);

·  The approach to ongoing management of the building that ensured those measures remained effective.


The purpose of a building safety case was to collate and record all information about how the risk of fire spread and the structural safety of a building were managed. This was something that the Council already did for each of its high rise buildings, but the Act required a particular format and this information now had to be submitted annually to a new regulator for building safety, which provided further external structure to the internal processes that the Council had been following for some time to guarantee resident safety.


The Act also introduced two new roles and responsibilities for landlords or building owners and these were the Accountable Person and Principal Accountable Person. A recommendation was made on who these should be. Some changes had therefore been made within the Housing team to accommodate the new requirements and these were:


  • The introduction of a new post: Building Safety and Compliance Manager - allowing the focus required to ensure the Council was complying with the requirements;
  • A review of the council’s Fire Risk Assessment Policy due to the building safety Act and changes to the Regulatory Reform Order 2005, in relation to fire safety;
  • Enhancements made to the current compliance database to hold new information required by the act.


Members were further advised that the Act also strengthened existing Fire Safety Orders including buildings over 11 metres in height; there were 17 of these within the Council’s housing stock. Reflecting the Council’s corporate priorities established when the Housing service was brought back in-house, the Act required a significant level of focus on resident involvement and engagement, to ensure that residents feel safe, secure and heard. 


Cabinet acknowledged the importance of the ongoing focus on resident involvement with the Resident Involvement Strategy 2022 - 2025 which addressed the requirements of the Building Safety Act 2022. However further engagement and strengthening of that involvement was desirable. Cabinet would be creating a new high rise tenant and leaseholder group, to ensure that the voices of those living within the Council’s high rise buildings were heard, and would continue to consult regularly with the existing Tenant and Leaseholder Group, so that opportunities to feed into these processes were visible, flexible and promoted equality of access.


Councillor Jill Bayford spoke under Council Procedure Rule 20.1.


Councillor Whitehead proposed, Councillor Yates seconded and Cabinet agreed the following:


1.  To approve the recommendation to name Thanet District Council as the Accountable person, as described in the Building Safety Act 2022;


2.  To approve the recommendation to name the Director of Place as the Principal Accountable Person, as described in the Building Safety Act 2022;


3.  To approve the adoption of the revised fire risk assessment policy;


4.  To delegate authority to the Director of Place to approve future minor amendments required to the fire risk assessment policy.

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