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Home > Navigating the Building Safety Act: The Key to Success Lies in Fixing the Design Upfront

The introduction of the 2022 Building Safety Act (BSA) undoubtedly brings challenges during the current transitional period. However, it also presents significant long-term opportunities to transform the way we construct.

The Act mandates changes that will impact both cultural and operational aspects of project delivery across the industry.

Here at Design 4 Structures, we strive for the importance of upfront design. It is central to our ethos and promotes a more efficient workflow that keeps projects moving while ensuring buildings are safe and secure.

This article, looks specifically at Gateway 2, and how through early engagement we are already helping Principal Contractors and Principal Designers to overcome the challenges it presents:

Daniel Leech

CEO

Contact me directly to discuss the BSA and overcoming the challenges it presents to you:

daniel.leech@design4structures.com
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Gateway 2 Challenges

One of the key elements of the BSA is the introduction of essential safety checkpoints or ‘Gateways’, for Higher Risk Buildings (HRB’s). There are 3 in total:

  • Gateway 1 focuses on obtaining planning permission, by demonstrating the design meets safety requirements.
  • Gateway 2 is the building control approval stage. Building work cannot begin on a HRB, until the Building Safety Regulator is satisfied the design meets the functional elements of the building regulations.
  • Gateway 3 is the final approval stage before occupation, to ensure the completed building meets building requirements.

Gateway 2 in particular, raises concerns, due to the short-term risk it poses to project continuity. Designs submitted at Gateway 2 are deemed to be fixed, and any subsequent significant changes must be assessed by the Building Safety Regulator (BSR). For every change, they have a maximum of six weeks to assess it.

This presents a challenge as many projects are still being designed during the construction phase. This approach could potentially halt construction to comply with new requirements. A successful transition requires a cultural shift within the industry. We must collectively adapt to new approaches in project delivery and if done correctly it has the potential to transform the way we all construct.

Building Safety Act: Gateway 2

Overcoming the Challenges: Early Engagement from a Structural Engineer

Early engagement of structural engineers is a critical success factor. The sooner you can engage consultants during the initial design phase, the more streamlined the project delivery becomes. Our teams have worked on numerous projects, contributing to early design phases of major residential and commercial developments in the UK and globally, offering several benefits to our clients:

 1. Scheme Optimisation
By starting with manufacture and buildability in mind, our teams’ diverse capabilities and specialisms allow for a thorough exploration of multiple solutions during the initial design phase. Early collaboration with main contractors and design teams enables optimized outcomes based on budget, timescale, method, aesthetics, or sustainability goals. We have been able to reduce construction programmes by months for our clients, by investing more up-front.

2. De-Risking Delivery
Incorporating stage 4 and 5 detailing, along with fabrication information during the design phase, effectively de-risks projects. Issues are designed out, before reaching construction or manufacture, or in this instance prior to the Gateway 2 assessment, reducing the likelihood of significant changes further down the line.

At D4S, we thrive on taking on additional responsibility through a fully coordinated design approach. Early intervention informs the entire scheme with accurate data and information, ensuring construction proceeds with absolute confidence.

3. A Golden Thread of Information
The BSA requires maintaining a digital record of building information from the design phase. By taking full design responsibility across the RIBA Plan of Works, we guarantee standardized and consistent digital information recording. Integrating BIM further enhances information accessibility and quality, coordinated within a single master model.

Upfront Design and Early Engagement in Action

Our work spans various sectors, taking responsibility from RIBA stages 0-5. Early engagement, is all about providing our clients (architects, contractors, developers, land-owners etc), with the information and solutions they need to deliver projects more efficiently and effectively, whilst working towards a more collaborative sector on a wider scale.

Here is a sample of some of our projects and clients that embrace the overwhelming benefits of upfront design:

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To find out more about the Building Safety Act, and how we are supporting industry towards becoming more collaborative and efficient in its approach, drop us an email; hello@design4structures.com

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