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How The Building Safety Act Will Affect Your Business (UK)

How The Building Safety Act Will Affect Your Business (UK)

Learn about what this act is and the role technology plays in preventing and mitigating unsafe practices on construction sites.

The Building Safety Act 2022 (the Act) achieved Royal Assent on 28 April, providing a framework for radical change in the way in which all buildings are to be designed and constructed, as well as how high-rise residential buildings will be managed.

The Act focuses on improving building safety and on government plans to make the construction industry (and residential developers in particular) rather than residential leaseholders foot the bill for remedying historic fire safety defects in highrise residential buildings. Those changes relating to the industry footing the bill for historic fire safety defects include:

  • Restrictions on landlords’ ability to recover certain costs through the service charge in some circumstances
  • The power of the government to restrict developers’ ability to implement planning consent and obtain building control approval
  • Making associated organizations potentially liable in the event of developer insolvency
  • New grounds for claims against product manufacturers, suppliers, and distributors.

The Building Safety Bill (Bill) was the government’s main legislative response to the 2017 Grenfell fire tragedy. While the Grenfell Tower Inquiry continues, a draft of the Bill was published in 2020 and, following pre-legislative scrutiny by the DLUHC Committee, the final Bill was published in July 2021 and presented for debate before Parliament.

The changes brought about by this Act will go further than safety alone. There’s the potential for a seismic shift in how construction is planned and executed. In particular, every business – from sole traders to serial owners – will need to reconsider how they use technology to meet the new requirements, which could bring significant wider benefits.

The key change in the Building Safety Bill is that building owners will need to prove that they have effective, proportionate measures in place to manage safety risks for high-rise residential buildings.

Everybody will have a responsibility to collect, store and share more data to create a golden thread of information for the lifespan of a building, from planning and construction through to occupation. This golden thread must be stored in a digital format. For owners of existing buildings, that means creating an accurate, as-built record of facilities as they stand today. For new projects, it requires evidence about how work is completed – making construction firms even more accountable for the quality of what they build.

Building owners will also be responsible for ensuring clear lines of responsibility for safety, with duty holders and an accountable person.

A new gateway system will ensure building safety is considered at every stage of design and construction. The new Building Safety Regulator will oversee the implementation and enforcement of the legislation – with stringent penalties for noncompliance that could include criminal charges.

Technology is now more essential for all parties involved in construction than ever before. Positively, some tried-and-true processes and technologies can assist businesses of all sizes in preparing. Businesses just beginning their digital journeys can learn from those who have been there before.

Since the Act doesn’t name any specific software or tools, businesses have many options. Workflows based on Building Information Modelling (BIM) will be very beneficial because the information is updated in real-time in the cloud and accessible to all project stakeholders as needed.

Technology can give companies the data they need to enhance outcomes like quality, productivity, and sustainability in addition to enabling them to show their compliance with the Building Safety Bill. It is also possible to keep adding high-value capabilities, such as design coordination tools or digital twins, to help organizations improve their performance and prepare for future developments.

It is important that every construction stakeholder understands and prepares for the changes that are coming. While the legislation will initially apply to buildings taller than 18 meters, it may be expanded in the future, affecting everyone in the industry.

Today, technology is reshaping the construction industry, which has vast potential, however, for improving productivity and efficiency, thanks to digitalization, innovative technologies, and new construction techniques.

Consider the rapid emergence of augmented reality, Building Information Modelling (BIM), autonomous equipment, 3D scanning & printing, drones, and advanced building materials – all of them are now reaching market maturity.

Companies that adopt and implement these innovations will increase productivity, streamline project management and procedures, and improve quality and safety. To realize all of this potential, a dedicated and concerted effort is required. by the industry in many areas, including technology, operations, and strategy to personnel and regulation. 

Building Information Modelling (BIM) represents a collaborative planning method as it allows for the integration of useful information for every phase of planning – architectural, structural, plant design and installation, energy, and management – into a single model. The role of BIM in the construction industry (using participants such as architects, engineers, surveyors, builders, consultants, and clients) is to support communication, cooperation, simulation, and overall project management throughout the construction process’s entire life cycle.

When the UK Government produced its construction strategy in 2011, It included a program of measures the Government wished to take to reduce costs by up to 20%. Amongst other measures, this provided that the Government would require fully collaborative 3D BIM (with all project and asset information, documentation, and data being electronic) as a minimum by 2016.

Evercam Construction Camera software now integrates with BIM models, enabling users to overlay 3D renderings over construction camera images to compare the planned & actual construction status. Different project stakeholders can benefit from this feature by superimposing the BIM model and being able to follow through with the progress of each milestone.

The construction industry has come a long way when it comes to visual documentation. Visual documentation provides many benefits, some include; avoiding delays due to covered work, eliminating timely and costly change order disputes, and improving the engagement of project team members and owners. Evercam construction cameras document every second of construction site activity in 4k video and provide project management tools that make it easy for customers to find relevant job-site information to resolve issues and prevent disputes. With visual documentation linked to digital project plans, clients can monitor and track all construction progress as it happens.

Interested to discover more ways that Evercam Construction Cameras can help you during your next project? Get in touch with us today