Regulatory Outlook

Health and safety | UK Regulatory Outlook March 2023

Published on 28th Mar 2023

New regulator takes major step forward in ‘landmark moment for building safety’ | Amendment to OSB proposes criminal penalties for managers | 39 building developers agree to fix unsafe buildings 

New regulator takes major step forward in ‘landmark moment for building safety’

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has announced that all high-rise residential buildings in England will have six months from this April to register with the new Building Safety Regulator, which will affect approximately 12,500 buildings.

Owners and managers of these buildings must register by October 2023 or may face prosecution. The HSE state that this new campaign aimed at owners and managers of high rise buildings will highlight their new legal duties and encourage those responsible for safety management of higher-risk residential buildings to prepare for this change in regulation.

Amendment to OSB proposes criminal penalties for managers

An amendment has recently been proposed to the Online Safety Bill (OSB) in the House of Lords which creates a duty by Ofcom, working with the coroner, to require social media firms to hand over relevant content on "a timeframe that is fair to all parties". Those who fail to provide or preserve the content "without reasonable excuse" could face fines of up to 10 per cent of their firms' global turnover or a maximum one year's jail sentence, meaning that managers at tech companies could face imprisonment for failing to assist coroners.

The amendment, put forward by Baroness Kidron (founder of 5Rights, a charity campaigning for online safety), aims to provide bereaved parents with data to explain why their children died. 
The OSB has completed its second reading in the House of Lords and the date of when it will be read at Committee Stage is to be announced. 

39 building developers agree to fix unsafe buildings 

As detailed in our previous Regulatory Outlook, developers were asked by the government to sign the developer remediation contract, which requires them to take responsibility for all necessary work to address fire-safety defects arising from design and construction of buildings 11 metres and over in height that they developed or refurbished over the last 30 years in England. 

On 14 March, it was announced that 39 building developers have since signed the remediation contract and are now committed to fix any unsafe buildings; their obligations start immediately.

This recent development will see at least £2 billion raised for remediation costs. Further information will be published in due course on "how developers will be prohibited from carrying out major development or from receiving building control approval unless they sign and adhere to the contract, using Building Safety Act 2022 powers".

Artificial Intelligence and Digital Regulations Service launches

Please see Products


* This article is current as of the date of its publication and does not necessarily reflect the present state of the law or relevant regulation.

Interested in hearing more from Osborne Clarke?