2. All reasonable steps: what this means in the Building Safety Act
If you are responsible for an occupied, high-rise residential building, the Building Safety Act gives you a new set of responsibilities. Under the Act, you're required to take 'all reasonable steps' to prevent building safety incidents, and to reduce the severity of any incidents if they occur.
"All reasonable steps" will be unique to your building
There is no single approach to taking all reasonable steps, as these will depend on your building's individual circumstances and risks. The actions you take should be proportionate to the building safety risks you face. At the same time, it takes account the cost and feasibility of introducing additional control measures.
You will need to record the relevant safety standards which were in place when your building was built, and during any later refurbishment
You should be confident that the building safety measures in place will work as planned. And you should be able to prove these were designed, installed, maintained, and inspected:
- by competent people
- in accordance with relevant legislation, standards, and manufacturers' recommendations
Where information is not available, you will have to show what you have done to find it. If you find problems with your safety measures, review and amend your maintenance regimes. It is important you keep this in mind as your building ages and equipment and technical progress develops. Record any changes to maintenance regimes and the reasons for doing so.
You are responsible for taking measures to manage building safety risks. These include planning, organisation, control, monitoring, and review – the HSG65 guide has more information. They will need to appear in, and be delivered through, your organisation’s safety management system as applied to the building.
If a single measure controls any safety risks, your building is vulnerable if that measure fails. Using more than one measure provides more than one level of protection.
Changes and refurbishment
If your building undergoes any changes or refurbishment, ensure these do not affect building safety in the refurbished parts of the building, and the building overall . You should be able to demonstrate that anyone undertaking the work has the necessary skills, knowledge, experience, and behaviours (competence).
Changes to other areas of mixed-use buildings may also have an impact, so you'll need to gather information and assurance about these changes. If your building has more than one accountable person (AP), you'll need to record any changes they make. Visit New roles and responsibilities for more information on APs.
During any changes or refurbishment, take the opportunity to see if any additional reasonable steps could be taken as part of the work. For example, an additional measure may now be possible or reasonable due to technical advancements in building safety.
Fire prevention and protective measures often overlap, and APs should be aware of duties under other legislation. This includes the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 (FSO) and the need for cooperation with the responsible person (if different) when considering changes to the building.