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Managing building safety in high-rise buildings

04 March 2024

In 2022, when the Building Safety Act was introduced, social landlords like us were required to register each building we manage that is 7 storeys high or 18 metres tall, whichever criteria is reached first. This legislation also introduces a requirement to collect information and produce a building safety case by April 2024. We wanted to update you on our progress with this and our ongoing work to keep residents living in these buildings safe.

What is the Building Safety Act 2022?

The Building Safety Act 2022 aims to protect residents by holding freeholders, house builders, developers and landlords to account for the safety and effective management of buildings covered by the Act. This includes regulations such as not being able to use particular materials in construction and the requirement to notify the Building Safety Regulator of any changes to the design of a building, for example. Inevitably, this has caused significant delays in construction, general conveyancing processes and increased anxiety among buyers, sellers and renters.

The Act holds landlords like us to account for knowing our buildings and assessing how risk is managed and mitigated in them and most importantly, it ensures that all landlords take our responsibility to keep you safe in your homes seriously.

What is a building safety case?

A building safety case is a collection of information about every element of high rise buildings we manage. This includes basic details such as how many flats the building contains and how many floors there are, right down to very detailed information including the percentage of the material used to form the external wall, and the internal policies we have to ensure our continued compliance with the relevant regulations.

Building safety cases are ‘live documents’ which means they must be continually be maintained for the lifecycle of the building’s existence and updated where required.

Where are we now?

As part of the legislation, we were required to register every high-rise building with the Regulator by 1 October 2023, which was also the day we officially became SNG (Sovereign Network Group). We successfully met this deadline, registering each and every one of our high rise buildings.

Since then, we have successfully delivered over 200 new homes in high-rise buildings, and all these new homes needed to be registered before anyone moved in, which we have completed.

Currently, our Building Safety team are working with our partners to review all safety cases for buildings covered by this legislation in preparation for the April 2024 deadline. This is when the Building Safety Regulator will begin reviewing individual cases for all high-rise buildings over a five year period, and certifying whether they are fit for purpose or not. The Regulator has not confirmed what buildings will be called for review first, however, we’re reviewing our cases at a pace that keeps us ahead of the curve and ready for certification at any point after April 2024.

What is our next building safety focus?

  • Over the next few weeks, we will work with our partners to continue finalising our building safety cases for each new scheme covered by the Act, leading up to the April 2024 deadline. We’ll be collating a series of reports on our upcoming buildings across the areas we work in and registering all new builds before residents move in.
  • As the construction industry, legislation and regulation evolves, we will be tasked with continuously monitoring our compliance levels and adapting our building safety approach.
  • Collaboration is our strongest asset. So we will continue to have conversations with you about the buildings you live in, while raising awareness of the importance of building safety and how the Building Safety Act 2022 impacts you.

We will continue sharing more updates on this as we go, so look out for more articles on this on our website and in our customer newsletter.

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