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.

Andy James, Senior Technical Director - Health & Safety

Compliance with the Building Safety Act is high on the agenda for those involved with the construction or management of high-risk residential buildings across England and Wales. And, with the Building Safety Regulator (BSR) now accepting building registrations, those impacted need to have their Accountable Person in place to move forward.

As well as registering buildings with the BSR, the Accountable Person is also responsible for completing a building safety risk assessment, and the preparation and submission of a Building Safety Case and Report.

With the pressure on to get buildings registered, our Health and Safety, Senior Technical Director, Andy James, explains the role in detail and answers some of the common questions organisations have when looking to fill the position. 


Andy James_BSA insights article web assets_903x700.jpg

Andy James, Senior Technical Director, Health and Safety

QWhat 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.

QWhat 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).

QHow 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.

QWho 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.

QCan 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
QThat 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.

QWhen 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.

QWhat 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.

QHow will the Building Safety Regulator prioritise the submitted documents and list of buildings?

The Building Safety Regulator proposes to follow a hazard-based approach to prioritising assessments within tranches that reflect the potential to cause harm to people and the consequences of an incident, were a serious fire or structural failure to occur. Buildings with multiple hazard factors are likely to be assessed earlier in each tranche.

Dependant on the height of your building and number of dwellings, it is envisaged that you could be called within the first or second year or later dependant on the type of building and building risks. Prioritisation factors will be considered in combination and might include, for example, presence of a single staircase and no sprinklers, previous refurbishments that crossed multiple floors such as replacement heating, the hazards from mixed-use of a building (e.g. commercial businesses), and the type of external wall system.

The BSR’s final approach to tranching will be set out in its Strategic Plan which is expected by Q2 2024. This plan is subject to consultation.

QFinally Andy, what do you think the introduction of the AP and PAP roles mean for the industry?

Introducing the AP and PAP will lead to a safer and more transparent industry, with the Government hoping it will drastically improve the level of compliance and accountability in relation to the safety of high-risk buildings.

Related sectors

Load more sectors »

Get in touch

Your contact information:

All fields are mandatory *

Get in touch

Your contact information:

All fields are mandatory *