The Act has far reaching impact on existing legislation and statutory instruments. We highlight a few key points below to be aware of.
Extension of limitation periods
The BSA extends the limitation periods for claims brought under section 1 of the Defective Premises Act 1972 from 6 years to 15 years for future claims and 30 years for historical claims that accrued before the BSA came into effect.
Defective Premises Act 1972
Section 1 of the Defective Premises Act 1972 imposes a duty on a person taking on work for or in connection with the provision of a dwelling to see that the work is completed in a workmanlike and professional manner with proper materials so that the dwelling is fit for habitation, which has the meaning of being capable of occupation for a reasonable period without risk to the health and safety of the occupants and without undue discomfort.
The Act has introduced a new cause of action to enable claims to be brought against the manufacturers of defective or mis-sold products which contribute to or cause a dwelling to become unfit for habitation.
Section 38 Building Act 1984
The Act will create a statutory cause of action under section 38 of the Building Act for breach of the Building Regulations, giving a party the right to claim damages where they suffer harm because work on a building does not comply with the Building Regulations. Works having been signed off by a building inspector is no defence to this liability.
The relevant limitation period is 15 years and only applies prospectively i.e. from when the section came into force which is yet to be confirmed by the government.
Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005/1541 (RRO) The RRO has been amended by the Act and a few key amends are:
- The "Responsible Person" is to record their fire risk assessment to include the measures taken or to be taken and record any group of people identified by the as being especially at risk in the event of a fire.
- Anyone assisting the Responsible Person must be "competent" and evidence of competence retained.
- Residents must be provided with specific fire safety information and records must be kept.
- The Responsible Person must make themselves known and co-ordinate and co-operate with those other responsible people.
- For higher-risk buildings the Responsible Person must identify and co-operate with the Accountable Persons.
- Criminal penalties are imposed for offences in respect of impeding the performance of functions of an inspector under the RRO.