The tragic events of Grenfell Tower in 2017 set in motion a number of changes in the UK housing sector and the way landlords manage higher risk residential buildings. These new requirements are aimed at making sure that the risks to residents from fire spread and structural failure are managed as far as possible and will provide a framework for landlords to demonstrate they have met their legal duties.
One of the new requirements is the requirement for landlords to create a Building Safety Case Report. This is to be sent to the Building Safety Regulator (BSR) and is a key element of the new regime for managing risks in occupied high-rise residential buildings.
A Safety Case Report must cover the main hazards and assess how these could affect a person’s health and safety. It must also look at the worst-case scenario and what steps could be taken to prevent this from happening. It must be clear and easy for the BSR to understand and should be reviewed on a regular basis.
The Accountable Person must collate all of the information relating to the assessment and management of these risks in a ‘Golden Thread’ of information. This will be a single digital format and anyone should be able to access it. Once a building is occupied the Accountable Person will continually collate the information in the Golden Thread and present it to the BSR as part of the safety case.
A safety case is a document that details how a building is being assessed and managed to ensure that the risks to residents are being reduced as far as possible. The safety case report must be written by the Accountable Person and submitted to the BSR on a regular basis, at least once per year. It is important that the safety case report is clear and easy to read so that the BSR can easily understand what the building has been doing to reduce risks.
It is important to understand that the safety case regime is not about bringing all buildings into line with current standards, this would be impractical and financially unviable for many existing properties. The Government is providing funding to help landlords reclad their buildings with safer materials and has made it clear that the BSR will be enforcing these requirements using a targeted and proportionate approach.
Dame Judith Hackitt’s report identified that the existing regulation and oversight of higher risk residential buildings was inadequate. The new regime is designed to drive culture change and improve understanding of the risks within these higher risk buildings. It will ensure that all those who live in these buildings are safe and have the information they need to stay that way.
A safety case is a document that identifies the major risks for people in a building, such as fire spread and structural collapse. It outlines the measures that are in place to control those risks and how they will be monitored on an ongoing basis. The safety case is a key part of the new regulations that have been introduced following the tragedy at Grenfell Tower and it will be used by landlords to show they are taking appropriate and reasonable steps to manage these risks.