Which buildings need to be registered?

“Higher-risk buildings” (HRBs) are buildings in England which are 18+ metres high or have at least 7 storeys, and which contain at least two residential units (flats). Both existing and newly created HRBs must be registered with the new Building Safety Regulator (BSR).

What is the registration deadline for existing HRBs?

For existing HRBs, the 'principal accountable person' (PAP) must register the building by no later than 30 September 2023. Otherwise, the PAP will commit a criminal offence under section 77(1) of the Building Safety Act 2022 which could result in a fine and/or up to 2 years’ imprisonment. The PAP is the principal person or organisation that owns or is legally obliged to repair any common parts of the building, including its structure and exterior.

What is the registration deadline for new or redeveloped HRBs?

Following practical completion of a new or redeveloped HRB, the BSR will carry out a number of assessments and inspections with a view to approving the building. Once approved, the BSR will issue a completion certificate (see below), following which (and not before) the PAP must apply to register the building. The PAP will commit a criminal offence after 30 September 2023 if the building is then occupied but not registered. Furthermore, no lease of a residential unit in an HRB can be granted before the relevant completion certificate has been issued, and the building registered, since the lease will give the tenant a right to occupy.

When is a completion certificate required?

For buildings where any of the following works are being (or are proposed to be) carried out:

(a) construction of an HRB;
(b) creation of additional residential units in an HRB;
(c) works to a building that cause it to become an HRB,

a completion certificate under section 76 of the Building Safety Act 2022 must have been issued by the BSR in respect of the (relevant part of the) building before any newly created residential unit can lawfully be occupied after 30 September 2023. If occupied before such a certificate has been issued, the PAP will, after 30 September, commit a criminal offence which could again result in a fine and/or up to 2 years’ imprisonment.

What should building owners and PAPs be doing?

Building owners and PAPs must familiarise themselves with their above obligations and apply to register all HRBs within their portfolios as soon as possible (noting the 30 September deadline for existing HRBs and for any new HRB intended to be occupied before then). New or redeveloped HRBs will also require a completion certificate to have been issued by the BSR before they can be registered. It is currently unclear how long the BSR is taking to issue completion certificates and register buildings.

Agreements for the grant of new residential leases will also need to be reviewed to ensure that they take the requirement for registration into account when fixing the date on which such a lease is to be granted.

Don’t Delay! Act Now!

The process for getting an HRB registered must be started as soon as possible in order to avoid (or at least minimise) any delay in residential leases being granted and residents being allowed into occupation. Also to avoid the PAP inadvertently committing a criminal offence!

For further information on registering HRBs published by the HSE and the Government, see:

Registration of High-rise residential buildings | HSE Media Centre

Register a high-rise residential building - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

TLT has extensive experience in this area. If you would like to discuss how the Building Safety Act could affect you, please get in touch.

This publication is intended for general guidance and represents our understanding of the relevant law and practice as at June 2023. Specific advice should be sought for specific cases. For more information see our terms & conditions.

Date published

22 June 2023


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