Under the Building Safety Act 2022, the duty holder(s) for all residential buildings of 18 metres and over are defined as the ‘Accountable Person(s)’, as per the regulations which come into force on the 6th of April 2023.
There has been huge uncertainty over the definition of the ‘Accountable Person(s)’ and how this role will be determined for a building, especially where there is more than one duty holder.
The Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Committees (DLUHC) have now provided further information on this, and just in time of the regulations coming into force (6th April 2023).
We can easily assume that the Accountable Person(s) for a higher-risk building will be either the Freeholder or Landlord, i.e. the owner of the building or those responsible for the repairs of the building. However, we cannot assume that there is one clear individual in these situations and the Accountable Person(s) may actually be a partnership or corporate body, meaning multiple duty holders.
In these situations where multiple individuals are defined as responsible for the building, a ‘Principal Accountable Person’ must be determined. This is expected to be the person responsible for the structure and/or the exterior of the building. Again, there may be more than one duty holder for this and further determination may be required, in which case legal advice can be sought.
One of the key responsibilities that the Principal Accountable Person or Accountable Person(s) will be required to undertake immediately after the Act comes into full force in April 2023, is to submit an application of registration for their higher-risk building, to the Building Safety Regulator. If, upon registration, there is yet to be a Principal Accountable Person designated for the building, then the Regulator will hold power to assign the responsibility themselves or in some cases proceed to a First Tier Tribunal.
Understandably, some Principal Accountable Persons may be overwhelmed with the requirements of the Act. In these cases they have the right to seek support from an external duty holder such as Consultants like the experienced team at FRC. However, it is important that:
- There is a suitable legal agreement in place between the two parties, including any agreed fees; and,
- All Accountable Persons and the Principal Accountable Person have been clearly identified and their responsibilities are defined; and,
- The assisting duty holder has adequate Professional Indemnity Insurance (PII) to cover the work required under their building safety duties.
To learn more about how FRC can support you with your duties under the Building Safety Act 2022, in order to meet full compliance for your building, please visit our Building Safety Compliance Manager service page. Or alternatively, call our team directly on 01794 332 456 to discuss your requirements.