Guidance: Managing building control approval applications for higher-risk buildings

Health Safety Executive

November 28
13:44 2023

Higher-risk buildings

During the design and construction phases, a higher-risk building has at least 7 storeys or is at least 18 metres in height and either:

  • is a hospital or care home
  • has at least 2 residential units

Read the full guidance on buildings that the Building Safety Regulator (BSR) is the building control authority for.

Roles and responsibilities

Youre responsible for making a building control application to BSR for a higher-risk building. You can also authorise someone to make the application for you. They will need to upload a client authorisation as part of the application.

The principal designer and principal contractor must also support you in providing information. This may include helping you to manage parts of the building control application.

You cannot begin work on a higher-risk building project until your application for building control approval has been approved by BSR.

Documents you need to prepare

You must prepare the following documents as part of your building control application. Youll need to keep them updated throughout construction as they form part of the information you must keep.

Youll need to upload copies of the documents as part of your application. But you must keep the originals.

Drawings and plans

Your drawings and plans should demonstrate that this work will meet building regulations. You must upload copies of all necessary drawings and plans as PDF (portable document format).

The drawings and plans form the substance of the building control application. Where relevant, the other documents you prepare should refer to the drawings and plans. Make sure that the other documents guide us to the relevant parts of the drawings and plans to show how the building will meet building regulations.

Make sure that you provide the right plans, clearly labelled and understandable. Upload a reference file for the drawings. This will help us to process your application.

Competence declaration

In the competence declaration, you must confirm:

  • your confidence that the principal designer, principal contractor, and any other designers and contractors are competent to carry out their roles
  • the steps you have taken to make sure theyre competent to carry out their roles

You must also confirm:

  • any reasons the principal designer or principal contractors competence is called into question
  • why you appointed them despite their competence being questioned
  • the steps taken to reduce the risks from appointing them

You must sign the declaration.

Construction control plan

The construction control plan must set out details for the work and how you are going to control the work to comply with building regulations. It must describe how your strategies, policies and procedures will make sure:

  • the building works will meet the building regulations
  • that you check the plan is effective and how you will record evidence that the building works continue to meet the building regulations
  • you capture as built evidence to support the completion certificate application
  • those carrying out the work are competent to perform their duties
  • sanctions and past conduct of those carrying out the work is considered to decide if they are suitable for the role, or how to prevent a repeat of the behaviour
  • designers, contractors and others working on the building co-operate and share information
  • those carrying out the work have enough information and training

It must also give the name and a summary of the responsibilities of:

  • the principal contractor
  • the principal designer
  • any other organisation or sole trader who will carry out the work

The construction control plan must describe how and when youll review the plan.

Change control plan

A controlled change is a change to:

  • current or proposed plans of work
  • how the work is carried out
  • any stage of work, including adding or removing a stage
  • any strategies, policies or procedures described in agreed documents

The change control plan must show that you have considered:

  • the implications of changes from the plan that was approved
  • how and at what level in your organisation the impact of controlled changes will be assessed
  • how you will make sure controlled changes are recorded

It should show:

  • how and when changes are recorded
  • that the impact of changes is carefully considered and discussed with other parties
  • that you have the oversight and control you need to manage the work
  • how you will record all advice about each change and who gave the advice even if the advice is against the change

Building regulations compliance statement

The building regulations compliance statement:

  • must show how the planned building work will meet the relevant functional requirements of the building regulations
  • should refer to specific guidance, standards, or design codes
  • should explain how your solutions meet building regulations

The statement should show your approach to meeting building regulations. It should include clear explanations of which guidance or standards support your approach and why they are appropriate.

You should make sure that the guidance or standards you use are the right ones. For example, the Approved Documents may not be suitable for use in a complex or unusual design.

Fire and emergency file

The fire and emergency file sets out the assumptions made about how to manage and maintain the building when in use. It should consider spread of fire and structural failure appropriately before building work starts. It must include:

  • any assumptions that underpin the design and how the building will be used these must be realistic and carefully considered, with a clear rationale
  • arrangements the accountable persons will need to put in place to ensure safe evacuation
  • how the fire and rescue service can access the area, building and water-supply for firefighting
  • a fire strategy that describes how the work will comply with functional requirements A3 and B1 to B5 of Schedule 1 of the building regulations

Client authorisation

If you have authorised someone to apply on your behalf, they must upload written proof of your authorisation. This authorisation confirms that you agree to the application being made and that the information in the application is correct.

Site location plan

The site location plan must be to a scale of not less than 1:1250. It must show:

  • the buildings size, position and relationship to adjoining boundaries
  • the buildings curtilage boundaries, and the size, position and use of every other building or proposed building within the curtilage
  • the width and position of any street on or within the boundaries of the curtilage of the building

Mandatory occurrence reporting plan

This mandatory occurrence reporting plan must:

  • describe your mandatory occurrence reporting systems and processes
  • show that the principal designer and principal contractor have arrangements in place (before building work starts) for designers and subcontractors to raise safety occurrences

You must be satisfied that the principal contractor and principal designer can fulfil the reporting requirements and have a reporting system in place. But the principal contractor and principal designer are responsible for establishing, maintaining and operating those systems, not you.

Location of new drains or private sewers

If youre constructing a new drain or private sewer, you must prepare a site plan that highlights their location.

You must upload a site location plan with a minimum 1:1250 scale. It must show the approximate location of any proposed connection to a sewer. If there will be no connection, show the proposals for the discharge of the proposed drain or private sewer.

Include the location of any:

  • septic tank and associated secondary treatment system
  • wastewater treatment system
  • cesspool

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