We’re sure you know, the Building Safety Act is ripping the rule book up when it comes to fire safety. The Act is transforming every step of the building process, aiming to create industry-wide, lasting change for the safety of occupants – but, there are differences to how it’s applied in Wales compared to in England.
Dan Beynon, our regional director of Wales, recently featured in Insider Media, to shed light on the Building Safety Act in the country.
In the article, Dan highlights that the Welsh Government is generally expected to align with the provisions of the Building Safety Act as they apply in England.
However, ministers are in the process of determining what adjustments are necessary for Wales, including introducing a potential new regulatory body.
What is a higher risk building (HRB) in Wales?
The main differences in the implementation of the Building Safety Act in England and Wales are in the description of a higher-risk building (HRB). Dan said:
“In Wales, HRBs are defined as such during the design and construction phases only and are stipulated as being buildings at least 18 metres in height or at least seven storeys with at least one residential unit (compared to two residential units in England).”
Who will enforce the new building safety rules in Wales?
It's crucial to note that the provisions of the Building Safety Act which relate to the new regulator only partially apply to Wales. Dan explains:
“In England, building control is now under the wing of the Building Safety Regulator (BSR), part of the Health and Safety Executive. Many of the BSR’s principles and powers will be given a Welsh equivalent. It’s expected that this will be a local authority in Wales.”
Have fire safety duties changed?
The Welsh Assembly Government is set to introduce new fire safety duties for Responsible Persons, which, coinciding with England, will also take effect on October 1, 2023. Dan said:
“From 1 October 2023, relevant, up-to-date fire safety information must be passed on to any new responsible person, including a fire risk assessment and the details of anyone the outgoing responsible person has appointed to assist with it.”