Explainers

Accountable Person and Principal Accountable Person duties now fully in force

Golden thread abstract image BSA Building Safety Act
Image: Alexandersikov | Dreamstime.com

The duties for the Accountable Person (AP) and Principal Accountable Person (PAP), including those relating to the golden thread, are now fully in force as the final pieces of Building Safety Act (BSA) legislation were signed into law on 13 January.

While the BSA came into force on 28 April 2022, not all sections of it commenced at the same time. Some sections were fully in force immediately, others after a specified number of months, and some would not be fully implemented until the government created enabling regulations.

Many sections of the BSA that set out the AP and PAP duties were included within the latter category.

Similarly, the Higher-Risk Buildings (Keeping and Provisions of Information etc) (England) Regulations 2024 (ie the golden thread) and the Higher-Risk (Management of Safety Risks etc) (England) Regulations 2023 (MSR Regulation), while published publicly, did not come fully into force until further regulations had been introduced.

On 13 January, the government created the Building Safety Act 2022 (Commencement No 6) Regulations 2023, which came into force on 16 January 2024. These commencement regulations bring various sections of BSA into force, including:

  • Sections 79-88
  • Sections 90-98
  • Sections 101, 102 and 111.

The now-in-force duties of the AP and PAP include the duty to assess building safety risks, manage the risks and to have prepared the safety case and the operation of mandatory occurrence reporting. 

Residents’ rights to the golden thread

This also means that both the golden thread and MSR Regulations, which include significant detail about the duties that is not set out in the BSA, are also now in force. Residents now have a right to request information from the golden thread, such as a list of all building safety risks and the Resident Engagement strategy.

Therefore, anyone who is an AP or a PAP must now ensure they are complying with all enforceable duties that are placed on those roles. It is an offence for an AP, without reasonable excuse, to contravene a requirement placed upon it under the BSA and the golden thread or MSR Regulations where that contravention places one or more people at significant risk of death or serious injury arising from a building safety risk.

Kathryn Kligerman and Mark London, partners at Devonshires Solicitors, said: “Those who have to date failed to fully understand their obligations as AP and/or PAP and take action to discharge those duties must now act quickly because they are now legally required to comply.”

No more excuses

Johnny Furlong, building owners adviser at Dalux, was vice-chair of the Golden Thread Initiative, part of the Building Regulations Advisory Committee working group that drafted the golden thread. He said: “It’s a long time coming, but I am very optimistic our industry is changing for the better. There are no more ‘future dates’ to hide behind. Duty holders can have no more excuses for not having their golden thread of building safety information.

“The BSA is a big change for our industry, but don’t be intimidated by it. With a few easy steps you can get your golden thread operational. If you are still confused, ask for assistance. Please don’t just ignore it. We owe at least that much to the 72 victims of Grenfell. Forever in our hearts.”

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