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NI Construction Firms Advised On New Non-Determination Application Process In England

Changes to the Building Act 1984, particularly Section 30A, have been introduced, impacting Northern Ireland companies operating in England.

The Building (Higher-Risk Buildings Procedures) (England) Regulations 2023 now allow certain applications to be determined by the Secretary of State, particularly in cases where the Building Safety Regulator has not issued a decision within the required timeframe.

This new procedure is especially relevant for Northern Ireland construction firms involved in projects categorised as higher-risk buildings in England. Under the updated regulations, if the Building Safety Regulator does not issue a decision within the statutory timescale and no extension is agreed upon with the applicant, a non-determination application can be submitted to the Secretary of State.

Applications eligible for this process include building control approval for higher-risk building work, stage approvals, work to existing higher-risk buildings, change control applications, and completion or partial completion certificate applications.

For firms wishing to apply to the Secretary of State for a non-determination application, the process begins with an email to the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities at HRB.non-determinations@levellingup.gov.uk. This contact is the first step in obtaining full instructions on submitting the application.

The introduction of the Building Safety Act 2022 has brought significant changes to the building control regime. It positions the Building Safety Regulator as the primary control body for all building work on or creating higher-risk buildings, requiring regulatory approval before commencement.

To mitigate any potential delays in building work, statutory timescales for the Regulator’s decision-making have been introduced. Should these timescales lapse without a decision or agreed extension, the new procedure provides an alternative route for progressing with construction projects.

It is mandatory for applicants to inform the Regulator of their intention to make a non-determination application to the Secretary of State at least two working days before submitting the application. This requirement underscores the need for clear communication and adherence to procedural timelines for Northern Ireland firms operating in the English construction sector.

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