The New Building Safety Case Report Requirement

In the wake of the Dame Judith Hackitt Report’s recommendations, landlords in higher risk buildings are reassessing their fire and structural safety arrangements. One of the new requirements set out in the Building Safety Bill is the creation of a ‘Safety Case’ for each high-rise building that is registered with the new Building Safety Regulator (an independent body which sits within the Health and Safety Executive).

In essence, the new requirement Building Safety Case Report is designed to make it clear to both the regulator and tenants what steps the Accountable Person(s) have taken, are taking and will take, to manage the risks of fire spread and structural failure in their buildings. The new regime will also require the Accountable Person(s) and Principal Accountable Person(s) to register each of their buildings and submit an annual Safety Case Report.

The information to be collated as part of the ‘golden thread’ of information that needs to be presented to the BSR is extensive and includes a detailed portrayal of each building including its location, dimensions, occupancy, neighbouring structures, blueprints and safety protocols in addition to an explanation of how the BSR will be informed about any new developments or changes to existing arrangements. The Safety Case Report will also include strategies for ongoing monitoring of a building’s fire and structural safety, including how and when these are reviewed.

What makes this new requirement difficult is that it is not based on bringing buildings up to the level of the latest standards but rather, demonstrating that all reasonable steps have been and will be taken to prevent major accidents from happening and that the consequences would be limited if they do. This is a very different approach to safety and it is one that we believe will not necessarily be easy for many landlords to achieve.

Adelard has worked with a number of housing associations to help them develop their safety cases. This has included running workshops and training with landlords on system safety and Safety Case thinking to enable them to understand the requirement and how they can start to collate the required information. We have also helped them to characterise their existing evidence and identify gaps in the safety story they have so far put together.

We have also utilised a commercial software tool that Adelard has developed in-house to help landlords collate the required information and present it in an easily digestible format. This tool allows the user to create a complete, compliant Safety Case in a very short space of time and it is this capability that we are able to offer to our customers to support them as they prepare their own Safety Cases.

It is important to remember that the legislation around the Safety Case is still in development and that, until it is published in full, there are no definitive rules about what exactly a Safety Case should contain. The requirements are very broad and may change at any point.