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Building Safety Act 2022: The role of the Accountable Person

Your Accountable Person (AP) plays a key role in your building safety management, being responsible for BSA compliance across both occupied and new high-risk, residential (HRRB) buildings.

But filling the AP role is proving to be a challenge for many organisations.

03 May 2023 | 5 min read
Andy James

UK

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The role of the Accountable Person in the  Building Safety Act 2022 LinkedIn banner
Andy James, Senior Technical Director, Health and Safety

What is an Accountable Person?

The Accountable Person (AP) is a named, responsible individual who is required to assess all building and safety risks in an occupied HRRB and take all reasonable steps to prevent such risks materialising and to minimise their impact if they do, in fact, occur.  

A building safety risk is defined as “a risk to the safety of people in or about a building arising from the spread of fire, structural failure or any other prescribed matter”.  The AP is effectively responsible for ensuring that the building can be safely occupied based on its particular characteristics.

What is a Principal Accountable Person?

If there are multiple APs for a building, the AP responsible for repairing the exterior and structure of the building will be recognised as the Principal Accountable Person (PAP).

How does a Principal Accountable Person (PAP) differ from an AP?

It’s possible for there to be more than one AP for the same building. However, there can only be one PAP.

Where there’s only one AP, the PAP will be that person. But when there’s more than one, the PAP will either be:

  • the leaseholder or freeholder who has the physical right to occupy these areas (i.e the person who holds a legal estate in possession of the relevant parts of the structure and exterior of the building); or
  • who has the obligation to undertake repairs to the structure and exterior of the building.

If the PAP cannot be determined, then the potential candidates and/or the BSR may apply to a Tribunal to determine the issue.

Who could be appointed as the Principle Accountable Person (PAP) within our organisation?

When there are multiple accountable persons, each accountable person is responsible for managing the structural and fire safety risks in:

  • The common parts they own, or must repair and maintain under a lease
  • Balconies, including those attached to the outside of the building that they own, or must repair and maintain
  • Any residential unit that can be let to a tenant, excluding lets on a long lease

Both the Property Manager and Maintenance Manager may be defined as APs. No model management structure is in place to check against, but ultimately, they should continue as usual but must ensure there is an engagement with residents.

Can you break down the Principal Accountable Person role?

The duties of the PAP or nominated person in your organisation on behalf of the PAP would be:

  • Register the HRRBs by 30th September 2023
  • Assess the building safety risks and prepare a Building Safety Case Report to be submitted to the Building Safety Regulator
  • Establish a residents’ engagement strategy and complaints procedure
  • Apply for a building assessment certificate once requested to do so by the Building Safety Regulator after April 2024
  • Report mandatory occurrences to the building safety regulator
  • Create, hold and maintain the golden thread of information of their buildings
  • Demonstrate that fire risk assessments and all other relevant risk assessments are undertaken and reviewed regularly, and any recommendations are undertaken in a timely manner

That seems quite a lot to do, and appears to be a full-time role?

From the outset there might seem a lot, but once new procedures are set up e.g establish a residents’ engagement strategy, a complaints procedure and mandatory reporting then the APs on specific sites can implement these procedures.

We can assist with writing these procedures, along with the registration of occupied buildings to the new Building Safety Regulator.

When will a PAP need to submit a Building Safety Case report to the BSR?

Once the Building Safety Regulator starts to call in buildings for assessment and issue Building Assessment Certificates (April 2024), companies have 28 days to submit. So, we strongly advise you to be prepared and tackle this in advance.

Assessing building safety is a complex interplay between fire and structural risk management and will require a competent person to conduct such an assessment.

What happens after our building is registered with the BSR?

After a building has been registered, the BSR will periodically assess performance through the Building Assessment Certificate process. Once directed to apply for a Building Assessment Certificate, your PAP must send a suite of documents, the ‘Golden Thread of Information’ which includes the Building Safety Case and Report, to the regulator to show how building safety risks are being managed.

The regulator will examine these documents and may send an inspector to the building to verify the details. If satisfied, the regulator will issue a Building Assessment Certificate for the building. A Building Safety Case report should be reviewed regularly as a live document but will initially last for up to five years.

Table showing the height of building for the number of dwelling