The Building Safety Act & Principal Designer (Building Regulations)


On a tragic night of the 14th June 2017, in north Kensington, London, a high-rise fire broke out at the 24-storey Grenfell tower block.

72 people tragically lost their lives that night, with a further 200 residents escaping in chaotic scenes. It was the deadliest structural fire in the UK since the 1988 Piper Alpha oil-platform disaster and the worst UK residential fire since World War II.

There have been many high-rise residential building fires in the UK, but Grenfell really brought into sharp focus how fire safety (and also structural stability) matters were not being effectively managed consistently in the construction industry.

Following various public and government enquiries, and draft legislation, The Building Safety Act (BSA) finally came into force 28 April 2022. This forms the centre-piece of the Governments new building safety regime, in conjunction with a series of Secondary Legislation (including PAS Specifications, ACoPs, and revisions to the Building Regulations), etc.

Further information – Building Safety Act 2022 (

-The Building Safety Act (and amended Building Regulations) (Note – England & Wales only) now creates “a clear, proportionate framework for the design, construction, and management of safer, high-quality homes in the years to come”.

The focus initially was on Higher Risk Buildings (HRB’s), “those of at least 18 metres in height or at least 7-storeys, and containing at least 2 residential units, (incl. (design & construction only) hospitals and care homes)”.

Back in April 2024, the transitionary arrangements have now ended meaning that the full enactment of the Building Safety Act is in place. ALL building types where Building Regulations apply, mean that the Building Safety Act is now law. (England & Wales only). (Ireland and Scotland are putting in place own systems / procedures).

-The Act follows in its intended application, with the same duty-holder roles of that of CDM2015, i.e.

-Principal Designer (Building Regulations) (NEW);
-Designers; -Principal Contractor; and
– Contractors.

Important!  It is to be noted that the roles and responsibilities of that of the ‘PD Building Regulations’, differ entirely from that of the ‘PD CDM Regulations’ !

PD Building Regulations – primary focus under the Building Safety Act is to “plan, manage, & monitor design work compliance”.

PD CDM Regulations primary focus is to is to “plan, manage, monitor and coordinate health and safety in the pre-construction phase by identifying, eliminating or controlling foreseeable risks”.

(* this statement from a prominent architect – Paul Bussey of AHMM architects advising the RIBA, CIAT, CIOB, CABE and the APS – Association for Project Safety).

-“delivery of the Principal Designer (Building Regulations) best delivered by the designer in control of the design”,

– this could be an individual (smaller projects), but for larger complicated projects may have to be an organisational role by larger multi-disciplinary practices, with in-house specialisms to deliver the role as required.

The top 5 priorities for building safety and implementation of the BSA shall be;

  1. Competence; its worth refreshing minds here, back in 2015 with the revision of CDM15 Regulations, the construction industry decided defining competence was too bureaucratic. Sadly, Grenfell has taught us that this is an area still for improvement. BSI Flex 8670 (soon to be British Standard 8670), now provides the core criteria for building safety in competence frameworks. With BSI flex / PAS 8671 for the Principal Designer  and BSI flex / PAS 8672 for the Principal Contractor role) (Or could these be attached as additional info to the news page??)

    PAS 8671:2022 Competence of Individual Principal Designers | BSI (
    PAS 8672:2022 Competence of Principal Contractors | BSI (

  2. Information Management and the ‘golden thread’; effective information management throughout the life-cycle is necessary with digital systems together with competent resource to facilitate management of the information from conception and throughout to include occupation. The golden thread being the information held on a building that enables it to be kept safe from its first construction, its use through to any modernisation / adaption, and eventual end of use, demolition.
  3. Gateways; gateways (only initially on HRB projects) are an urgent priority for those involved in construction projects, both in pre-construction and the delivery stage.

– see 23_039-Building-Control-Authority-Booklet-3.pdf (

Competency Registers

Various professional associations such as the RIBA, Association for Project Safety, plus others are putting together registers for individuals / organisations to demonstrate their competencies, (skills, knowledge, education, behaviours).

! Please Note! 
At this time, (May’24), Emerald Health & Safety Services shall not be undertaking the role of Principal Designer Building Regulations, instead continuing the delivery of Principal Designer CDM Regulations, Client CDM Advisor, (entirely separate legislative roles), along with other H&S support roles to Contractors and businesses.

  • SHARE: