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Persons of Interest (Part 2): Identifying the Principle Accountable Person

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In the second of our blog series looking at the key roles within the new building safety landscape, Paralegal Jodie Michael provides a useful overview of the Principle Accountable Person.

Identifying the Principle Accountable Person:

Under Section 73 BSA 2022, where there is only one (Accountable Person) AP for a higher-risk building, they will also qualify as the Principle Accountable Person (“PAP”).

Where there is more than one AP (i.e., where more than one person is responsible for different common parts of a building), the PAP is either the party who:

  1. Holds a legal estate in possession of the relevant parts of the structure and exterior of the building OR;
  2. Falls within Section 72(i)(b) BSA 2022 by being under a relevant repairing obligation in relation to the relevant parts of the structure and exterior of the building.

‘Relevant parts of the structure and exterior’: is the buildings structure and exterior except so far as included in a demise of a single dwelling or of premises to be occupied for business purposes (Section 73(2) BSA 2022)

Only one party can be recognised as the PAP to ensure that there is a clear allocation of primary responsibility for compliance of the statutory duties and as it stands it is generally considered that this will be the party who has an overall responsibility for the structure of the building.

The BSA 2022 provides that the Tribunal will have jurisdiction to determine who the PAP is. An application can be made by anyone with an interest in the building.

Obligations of a Principle Accountable Person

In addition to the obligations transferred to APs, the key further obligations of a PAP is to:

  • Register existing higher-risk buildings with the BSR by October 2023 and submit structure and safety information about the building.
  • Notify the BSR of any changes to the information submitted at registration.
  • Register all new buildings before occupation by October 2023.
  • Apply for a building assessment certificate when directed by the BSR under Section 79 BSA 2022.
  • Save for where a SMO is in force, display the following in a conspicuous position in the building:
  1. A notice in the prescribed form containing prescribed information about APs for the building
  2. The most recent building assessment certificate relating to the building
  • Any relevant compliance notice
  • Prepare a safety case report for the building showing that:
  1. APs have assessed all building safety risks and
  2. A description of any steps taken to control them
  • Give the safety case report to BSR on request who will examine it during the building assessment.
  • Prepare a residents engagement strategy for promoting participation in the making of building safety decisions under Section 91 BSA 2022.
  • Establish and operate a system for the investigation of ‘relevant complaints’ under Section 93 BSA 2022.
  • Ensure that the structural and fire safety risks are managed properly for the whole building and check that all APs have:
  1. Identified and assessed the fire and structural risks in their parts of the building
  2. Taken steps to prevent incidences from happening
  • Put measures in place to lessen the severity of any incident

Repercussions of breaches of duties

Similarly to APs, the BSR will initially work with APs to resolve any potential non-compliance however if the matter cannot be resolved, a PAP could face criminal prosecution resulting in imprisonment or a fine if there is a failure to comply with their duties and obligations.

Governing Legislation: Building Safety Act 2022 Where is this applicable: In ‘Higher-risk buildings’ meaning those in England that – (a)is at least 18 metres in height or has at least 7 storeys, and (b)contains at least 2 residential units.

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