Fire Safety and Building Regulation Consultancy



Duty holders will now be required to create and uphold a ‘golden thread’ of information for a higher risk building throughout its lifecycle. This will include capturing up-to date information on the building design, build and management and storing it digitally. A Safety Case Report will be presented with and form part of the golden thread of information. This will summarise the information used to manage the risk of fire spread and structural safety of the building and demonstrate the ongoing safety of a building. It will also identify any major fire or structural hazards and outline how they manage these risks.

The Client is the person for whom the building work is done; often the Client will be the developer or the building owner. In many projects there could be more than one entity which will satisfy that definition and the regulations allow for the clients to agree between themselves who will be the client for the purposes of the Building Regulations, much in the way that the CDM Regulations do.

The Client has a major influence over the way a project is procured and managed – and, of course, how the work is funded. They control the contract, the finances, and the time available for the project.

The Client should have suitable arrangements in place to ensure that the design work and the building work can be completed in accordance with building regulations. In practice, this means appointing the right people, with the right competencies (the skills, knowledge, experience and behaviours or organisational capability) for the work and ensuring those they appoint have systems in place to ensure compliance with building regulations.

Where there is more than one contractor working on the project, the Client will need to appoint a Principal Designer to be in control of design work and a Principal Contractor to be in control of the whole project during the construction phase.

There are requirements for a client to check the competency of the entities it is appointing on a project, including the principal contractor and principal designer, much like the current requirements under the CDM Regulations. The regulations introduce specific checks that the client must undertake as part of the competency check where the works involve High Rise Building (HRB) work. The client must also keep a written record of the steps taken to ensure competence in these circumstances.

Clients should review the current questions they ask their prospective contractors and consultants’ pre- appointment to ensure that they can be satisfied that the persons they are appointing are competent to perform the role they are being appointed to do.

Please note there are additional responsibilities where the work relates to a high-rise residential building.

Under the new Building Regulations start of work has a different meaning and is the actual start of the building work.

Notification for start of works must be given at least two days before building work starts to the chosen Building Control provider.

Notification of commencement must be given not more than 5 days after the date on which work is regarded as commenced.

Commenced has different meanings depending on the type of work.

Complex buildings

These are:

  • Building to be constructed on the same foundation plinth or podium as any other building or structure.
  • A building which has more than one storey below ground
  • A building which it is proposed use is primarily as a public building or a section of the public has access to the building provided the building has a capacity for 100 or more visitors. Refer to Regulation 46A(5) for definition of public building.

For complex buildings commencement will be the date at which foundations supporting the buildings and structure of the lowest floor level of that building (but not other buildings or structures supported by those foundations) are completed.

Non-Complex Buildings or Horizontal Extension of a Building

Commencement of these buildings will be the date at which the sub-surface structure of the building or extension including all foundations, any basement level (if any) and the structure of ground floor level is complete.

All Other Building Work

Where the work consists of any other building work then work is to be regarded as commenced at the stage when the client considers 15% of the building work will be completed.

It is a requirement to provide a statement setting out the date when work will reach the point it will be regarded as commenced.

All of the duty holders as defined in Part 2A of the revised Building Regulations Statutory instrument 2023 will have to sign one to confirm the building work has been designed and constructed in accordance with the Building Regulations. This will include the client, designer, principal designer, contractor, and principal contractor. Specific rules apply and therefore it is best to check with your Building Control body exactly what they require. Some Building control bodies may decline to inspect the work until they have received the declarations from all duty holders.

Publicly Available Specification (PAS) 9980 is a methodology developed by the British Standards Institution (BSI) drawing on expert advice from professionals across industry which provides a means of appraising the likely fire performance of external walls. PAS 9980 sets out how to carry out a detailed fire risk assessment of the external walls in buildings where a standard fire risk assessment has identified the need for one.  Under the Fire Safety Act 2021, responsible entities are required by law to carry out a fire risk assessment of their buildings that includes the external walls. Where a detailed fire risk assessment of the external walls is needed, this should be done to the standard set out in PAS 9980.

EWS1 forms and the EWS1 process are a valuation tool designed by industry (lenders and valuers). They are not a statutory or regulatory requirement or a fire safety certificate. It is a commercial decision by lenders whether to ask for an EWS1 form. RICS has made clear that valuers must always have a justification for requesting an EWS1, and, that investigation and assessment underpinning an EWS1 should be undertaken in accordance with PAS 9980.

As from the 6th April 2024 architects and designers are facing a new building control approach whereby local authority Building Control departments or Registered Building Control Approvers ( formerly Approved Inspectors ) are unlikely to work collaboratively to provide design advice and support at the early stages of a project.

The new regulatory system stipulates that on submission to a Building Control Body the appointed Principal Designer must present a package of information that demonstrates compliance with the Building Regulation functional requirements. If it’s not compliant or lacks a certain level of information/detail you run the risk of having your Building Regulation application rejected, advice as to how the design should be compliant is unlikely to come from a Building Inspector as they would be crossing a line in becoming a Designer. 

You may also find that Building Inspectors will not comment on a project at the early RIBA Stages when you would like some design advice and feedback on your proposals.  This is when you have the option of contacting Qualitas Compliance who can provide expert Building Regulation advice. 

We can offer you an interactive collaborative approach to working with the Principal Designer or Designer/s, de-risking the design process prior to your Building Regulation submission. Through working with the client and design team, we can undertake those early checks on proposals, offer support and design advice. Our compliance reports can provide further evidence to support your design package to the regulatory Building Control Body.

Qualitas cannot act in the Principal Designer role under the new Building Regulations – Part 2A. 

Our role is to support the design process and advise on compliance with the Building Regulations. Substantiating the chosen approach to the design sits with the Principal Designer, encompassing all aspects of design, production of detailed specifications, drawings and co-ordinating with other designers in the team. 

A Principal Designer cannot delegate their responsibilities and they should be able to demonstrate their relevant competencies to work on the project.  At the end of the project, it will be the responsibility of all duty holders to issue compliance declarations.

Our Building Regulations Consultancy service we can be appointed at any stage of the project to provide invaluable advice about the regulations and Building Control process.

Qualitas Compliance Ltd

Amber Court
51 Church Street
S74 8HT


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