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Building Safety Act Gateways Explained

Building Safety Act Gateways Explained

Building Safety Act Gateways Explained

The Building Safety Act 2022 has introduced new stages to the building control process, referred to as gateways.

These gateways are designed to make high-rise buildings in England safer and prevent unsafe buildings from being given building permission.

The building control approval process will involve three gateway checkpoints at the planning, building control approval, and completion stages.

Gateways Two and Three will serve as interim assessment points, ensuring safety is considered at each phase of the building control process.

This blog will explain what the gateways are, the eligibility criteria and why it is important to have them.

The information given here is intended for general information purposes only and should not be taken as legal advice.

For specific Building Safety Act guidance, please contact our property disputes solicitors on 0330 175 7613, or email Andrew Olins at andrew.olins@ibblaw.co.uk.

What is the Building Safety Act?

The Building Safety Act 2022 is an important piece of legislation aimed at improving the safety and quality standards of residential buildings.

The act was introduced by the government as a response to the Grenfell Tower tragedy of 2017. It represents a comprehensive effort to address systemic issues that led to the disaster, particularly focusing on tall and high-risk structures.

The Building Safety Act timeline aims to ensure that buildings meet the highest safety standards by implementing checks throughout the building process, from design to construction and maintenance.

It also emphasises accountability and liability for those involved in the construction and management of residential buildings and prevents leaseholders from being charged to fix historical building defects.

Key provisions of the act include the establishment of the Building Safety Regulator, which serves as the primary authority for overseeing high-rise buildings, as well as the introduction of gateway requirements to ensure safety considerations are integrated at each stage of the building process.

What are the new gateways under the Building Safety Act?

From October 2023, the government has established a new Building Safety Regulator, designated as the Building Control Authority for high-rise structures.

This regulator will evaluate applications for high-rise buildings and only grant permission to begin building when the gateway requirements have been met.

Under the Building Safety Act, buildings categorised as ‘higher risk’ are those standing at least 18 meters or seven stories tall, containing at least two residential units, or functioning as hospitals/care homes meeting the height criteria.

The three new gateways under the Building Safety Act 2022, are as follows:

  • Gateway One: Planning – Applicants must show consideration for fire safety matters.
  • Gateway Two: Construction Commencement – Construction cannot begin until the Regulator approves the application.
  • Gateway Three: Completion – Occupation is prohibited until the Regulator conducts final inspections and issues a Completion Certificate.

How do the new gateways work?

The purpose of the Building Safety Act Gateway One is to ensure that fire safety is considered within the design proposals before granting planning permission for relevant buildings.

Under Gateway One local planning authorities have the responsibility to seek advice from the Health and Safety Executive for relevant buildings. A fire statement must be provided for full planning applications, and the Health and Safety Executive will assess each application and provide advice to the local planning authority regarding fire safety matters.

The Building Safety Act Gateway Two has a ‘hold point’ where construction cannot proceed until the Building Safety Regulator approves the design, ensuring compliance with building regulations.

The submitted plans should outline exactly how compliance with building safety regulations’ requirements will be achieved. Plans should not rely on unrealistic management expectations.

This third and final stage of the gateway process will introduce another ‘hold point’ at the completion of a project before the building is occupied.

This important part of the new regulatory framework will ensure that Building Safety Regulator has the required information to issue a completion certificate.

The completion certificate application, signed by the client, principal designer, and principal contractor, confirms compliance with building regulations to the best of their knowledge.

Upon receipt of this information, the Building Safety Regulator will process the application promptly to avoid unnecessary delays. Only after passing the Building Safety Act Gateway Three can the new building be registered with Building Safety Regulator and the building can only be occupied after registration is complete.

Who is responsible for obtaining approval from the regulator?

The responsibility for following regulations lies with those carrying out the work. From October 1, 2023, the Building Safety Regulator has taken charge as the building control authority for tall buildings in England.

If you’re involved in developing one, you’ll need to seek approval from the Building Safety Regulator. While the technical requirements remain the same, the process for approval and the information needed has changed.

It’s crucial to consider the entire process right from the start. This means before applying for approval, you should plan how you’ll:

  • Build your project
  • Adapt to changes
  • Meet the regulations’ functional requirements

You must take a comprehensive approach from start to finish, covering everything from design and procurement to completion and handover.

What are the penalties for non-compliance with the Building Safety Act?

A new provision, Section 38 of the Building Safety Act has been introduced, which enables the Building Safety Regulator to issue:

Compliance notices – A compliance notice is a formal notice issued by the Building Safety Regulator to a building owner or responsible person. It is issued when the Regulator believes that the building fails to comply with the requirements of the act or associated regulations.

The notice will outline the specific areas where the building is non-compliant and require the non-compliant work to be fixed by a certain date.

Stop notices – A stop notice under the Building Safety Act is a formal notice issued by the Building Safety Regulator to halt or prohibit certain activities related to a building. This notice is typically issued when the regulator determines that there is serious non-compliance taking place, requiring work to be ceased until this is fixed.

Failure to comply with the above notices will be a criminal offence, with a maximum penalty of up to two years in prison and an unlimited fine.

Get in touch with our solicitors specialising in the Building Safety Act

The information given here is intended for general information purposes only and should not be taken as legal advice.

For specific guidance on the Building Safety Act, please contact us on 0330 175 7613, or email us at andrew.olins@ibblaw.co.uk.