The Building Safety Act 2022 (BSA) and what it means for defective premises
On 28 June 2022 the Building Safety Act 2022 (BSA) received Royal Assent, bringing about the biggest change to building safety in 40 years; but what does this mean for defective premises?
The BSA was designed to make provision for the safety of people in or about buildings and for the standard of those buildings and was primarily brought about as a result of the Grenfell Tower tragedy.
The focus of the BSA is on high rise residential buildings, hospitals and care homes which are at least 18 metres in height or have at least 7 storeys.
While not all of the BSA is currently in force, one of the key changes which has now been implemented is to the statutory limitation periods in which Claimants are permitted to bring claims under the Defective Premises Act 1972 (DPA).
Prior to the BSA coming into force the period in which a claim could be brought under the DPA was six years from the date the dwelling was completed. The BSA has extended this to 15 years for claims relating to works completed after 28 June 2022 and, for those works completed before 28 June 2022, this has been extended retrospectively to 30 years from the date of the completed works.
The BSA recognises that some potential Claimants may find themselves close to the end of the retrospective 30 year limitation period and, to assist such Claimants, it provides that the limitation period for such claims will not expire until 1 year after the new limitation period came into force and so the limitation period for such claims will not expire until 27 June 2023.
The scope of the DPA has also been extended by the BSA. Prior to the BSA coming into force, the scope of the DPA was limited to new residential buildings and those buildings which were converted into dwellings. The BSA has introduced a new prospective right of action against any person who takes on work in relation to any part of a dwelling so claims may now be brought in respect of any refurbishment or remedial works completed on an existing building after 28 June 2022, subject to the new 15 year limitation period.
The changes will have wide reaching effects and claims can now be brought for works completed as far back as 29 June 1992, which would have previously been statute barred. This will inevitably result in an increased number of claims arising out of the DPA.
Documents and records must now be retained for much longer and for the duration of the relevant limitation period.
Businesses must consider whether they have sufficient warranties and insurance in place for existing projects to cover the extended limitation period and, going forwards, businesses need to consider the new limitation periods and ensure that there is sufficient warranty, guarantee and insurance protection in place in relation to new projects and contracts
For further information on the BSA and its effects, please contact the BDB Pitmans’ litigation team and we will be happy to discuss this with you.