The deadline for registering occupied higher-risk residential buildings with the Building Safety Regulator is nearing. The application will need to be completed online by or on behalf of the “Principal Accountable Person” by 30 September 2023, with a fee of £251 per building registered.

Here is a breakdown on what to know about the process.

What is a Higher Risk Building?

A higher-risk residential building can contain one or more higher-risk residential structures.

A higher-risk residential structure has:

  • At least 7 floors or is at least 18 metres in height
  • At least 2 residential units

2 or more structures can be registered as a single building when they are connected by either

  1. A walkway, lobby or basement, that contains a residential unit
  2. An internal wall containing normal use doors.

Who is the Principal Accountable Person?

The “principal accountable person” is defined in section 73 of the Building Safety Act 2022 but is broadly speaking someone who holds a legal estate in possession in the structure and exterior of the building (except so far as included in a lease of a single dwelling or of premises to be occupied for the purposes of a business) or who has control over those parts of the building due to a relevant repairing obligation.

The Application Process

The principal accountable person for a building (being the person or organisation that owns or is otherwise accountable for the building’s safety) or someone authorised by them will need to complete the application online at https://www.gov.uk/guidance/register-a-high-rise-residential-building.  

The following information will need to be provided about the building as part of the application:

  • The number of floors at or above ground level;
  • The building’s height in metres;
  • The number of residential units;
  • The year it was originally built;
  • Its address/addresses.

If the building comprises more than one structure then information needs to be provided about each structure and details of the principal accountable person and any other accountable persons will need to be supplied. More detailed information about the structure and fire safety of the building will also be requested as part of the registration process.

Failure to register

Section 77 of the Building Safety Act 2022 provides that the principal accountable person for a higher-risk building commits an offence if the building is occupied but not registered.  

A person guilty of an offence is potentially liable on conviction to be imprisoned and/or fined and to a daily default fine of £200. Whilst section 77 is not yet in force the explanatory memorandum to The Building Safety (Registration of Higher-Risk Buildings and Review of Decisions) (England) Regulations 2023 provides that the offence in Section 77 will not come into force until 1 October 2023 at the earliest. However, it appears that the Government is intending to bring Section 77 into force on Sunday 1 October 2023 as the guidance accompanying the registration process states that applications and fees must be submitted by 30 September 2023. Those potentially affected should therefore act now to avoid committing a criminal offence.

*UPDATE* 

The Building Safety Act 2022 (Commencement No 5 and Transitional Provisions) Regulations 2023 (SI 2023/993) have now been passed and section 77 of the Building Safety Act 2022 containing the criminal offence for failure to register higher risk buildings with the Building Safety Regulator will come into force on 1st October 2023. 

The Principal Accountable Person in relation to an occupied higher risk building will therefore be committing a criminal offence if they fail to register an occupied higher risk building with the Building Safety Regulator prior to 1st October 2023.