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Last updated: 16th October 2023
If you’re after an everything-you-need-to-know style safety case hub, then you’re in the right place.
In order to comply with the Building Safety Act 2022 (if you haven’t already, read our dedicated Building Safety Act 2022 summary), the Accountable Person(s) will have new responsibilities placed upon them. Amongst these responsibilities is the legal requirement to gather a building safety case followed by the all-important building safety case report, which will need to be presented to the Building Safety Regulator (BSR). The safety case report is a particularly important part of complying with the new legislation, and is ultimately crucial in reducing the risk to life safety in your buildings.
To hear our experts share the lessons we've learnt so far having supported several clients with developing their safety case, you can watch our free, on-demand webinar 'Building Safety Cases: Lessons Learnt So Far'. The webinar is a great opportunity to hear useful insight into where organisations are likely to have gaps in their information and approaches, and will provide you with a clear understanding of what your responsibilities are moving forward.
So, where do I start?
Before you submit your safety case report, you must make sure that you register your building(s). All existing residential buildings within scope of the Building Safety Act will need to be registered with the BSR between April 2023 to October 2023. Once registered, the Accountable Person must apply for a Building Assessment Certificate when they receive direction to do so from the BSR.
The Building Assessment Certificate application should include:
- A copy of the latest safety case report for the building
- A copy of the resident engagement strategy
- Some prescribed information about the mandatory occurrence reporting system that is in place
The BSR will, once completely satisfied, issue a Building Assessment Certificate, showing that the Accountable Person has taken all reasonable steps to prevent building safety risks.
From 1st October 2023, developers must apply for building control approval prior to starting any higher-risk building work or prior to starting work to an existing higher-risk building. The key timeframe to save in your diaries moving forward is October 2023-April 2024, in which time you should be compiling and preparing your building safety case and safety case report, ready for submission by April 2024.
You cannot present a Building Safety Case Report, without a Safety Case…
A safety case is the information that demonstrates that the Accountable Person is taking action to identify, manage and mitigate fire and structural risks, alongside demonstrating what is being done to address these risks. Extra guidance can be found from the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) and from government consultation documents. This guidance, paired with our views and knowledge as subject matter experts, has allowed us to create a contents of what we believe should be included in every safety case. Note that the following list is not exhaustive.
- An overview of general information
- The address
- Height measurements
- Number of storeys
- Number of flats
- Refurbishment details (which are really key)
- Construction information (such as construction materials)
- Information around fire prevention (take a look at our dedicated fire safety regulations blog)
- Structural safety information
- Information about the services and utilities within a building (gas, electrics, water)
- Details on property compliance (what are the maintenance regimes on your gas, electrics and fire safety programmes? Is everything in date? What are the dates of last and next inspection?)
- Information about your safety management system and emergency planning
- An overview of resident engagement
- What are the key themes of the resident engagement strategy?
- Are there any specific initiatives being used for that particular building?
- Details around resident profiles
- Who are the residents?
- Are there any particular vulnerabilities to be aware of?
- Are there any additional measures required?
- Include a building safety risk assessment (this is legally required)
- Cover a variety of worst case scenarios, such as a fire spreading across multiple compartments on a single floor. What will you do to address each of these scenarios? What mitigations will you put in place? Include the answer to these sorts of questions as an example.
- Provide an action plan at the end of the safety case
Whilst you work your way through the information above, there will be actions that will need completing at a later stage, there may be missing information or the need for additional inspections and surveys to take place.
- Collate all of these actions into an action plan, which will in-turn demonstrate itself as a live document that will be reviewed and updated regularly.
Once all of this information has been covered and combined, the safety case for any building is likely to exceed 30 pages, with the exact length depending on how complex a particular building is. All of this information surrounding a safety case must be stored in the ‘Golden Thread’, therefore it is important to outline exactly where you will store all of the information and where it will be kept digitally.
After you have established your safety case, you can then prepare your safety case report, which will need to be submitted to the BSR. The building safety case report is not just a simple list of all of the safety case information, but rather a clear, easy-to-read summary of the information gathered and assessed.
A Safety Case Report should:
- Summarise the safety case
- Summarise the assessments you have made around building safety risks
- Include a summary of the Fire Risk Assessment for the building
- Explain the emergency arrangements and plans for the building
Aside from the above, there are also key things to consider about what should not be included in the safety case report. As per the guidelines set out by the HSE, a safety case report should not be a one-off exercise, it is imperative that you review it regularly. It should not be overly-technical and complex either, nor should it be a set of unsupported claims without any evidence.
As mentioned, the key is to ensure that all landlords evidence their safety case report within the golden thread of information. The golden thread is important because it serves as an accessible digital format which tracks the data flowing through each stage of the life cycle of a building. In other words, this data will consist of accurate, up-to-date information that provides evidence of the necessary risk assessments, certifications and safety checks that have taken place.
The safety case report, unlike the safety case, should be much smaller in size. We would recommend compiling summaries of your information, so that the BSR can read something that is both clear and succinct. This way, they are able to concisely identify whether or not you are compliant with the legislation.
We are aware that this is a lot of information to tackle, so why not take a look at our safety case infographic? Designed to assist you by breaking down the report elements and setting you off in the right direction.
The building safety case and safety case report are important legal obligations in the Building Safety Act, closing the gaps within previous building legislation and ensuring that major incidents are prevented from ever happening.
Adhering to these changes in legislation can be difficult, especially when compliance is absolutely essential. We have experts situated across all areas of building safety to help you with as little or as much support as you need. We recognise that some organisations are well ahead of the curve in their preparation for this process, but equally we recognise that some organisations are further behind than where they would like to be, and may need additional intense support over the next few months to prepare.
As a trusted safety partner, Pennington Choices are here to ensure that you meet and even exceed safety obligations by helping you remain fully compliant. To speak to one of our experts, please get in touch below. We’d love to hear from you and have a chat about how we can help with your safety case report, as well as other aspects in your building safety journey.