The “Building a Safer Future” report prepared by Dame Judith Hackitt reviews the current regulatory approval process. It identifies areas of short-comings and areas of concern within the current processes and provides recommendations on how to change these processes. One of the outcomes of this document was the proposed introduction of the ‘Gateways’.
The primary purpose of the Gateways is to introduce an element of Governance into managing fire safety through the design, construction and handover process. There are three in total:
The first gateway point (Gateway One) will be before planning permission is granted, when fire safety issues which impact on planning should be considered, including emergency fire vehicle access to a building and whether there are adequate water supplies in the event of a fire. To aid the local planning authority in their decision as to whether to grant planning permission, the developer will be required to submit a Fire Statement setting out fire safety considerations specific to the development with their planning application. The introduction of Gateway 1 shall be via an amendment to the Town and Country Planning Act and associated instruments.
The second gateway point (Gateway Two) will be before construction begins at the current ‘deposit of full plans’ stage under the Building Regulations 2010. Under the new regime, the Building Safety Regulator will take on the role of the Building Control Body and be legally responsible for regulating in-scope buildings in respect of building regulations. The Building Safety Regulator will bring together teams to deliver its regulatory functions, including local regulators. The Client will be required to submit key information to the Building Safety Regulator demonstrating how they are complying with building regulations through the submission of full plans, the construction control plan, fire and emergency file, and other supporting documentation that will help the assessment team determine whether the application meets the building regulations requirements and that the duty-holder has sufficiently demonstrated that they are managing building safety risks.
The third and final gateway point (Gateway Three) is before occupation of the building at the final completion certificate/final notice stage under the building regulations. Again, the Building Safety Regulator will provide the building control function working with local regulators. At this stage, the Client will be required to submit to the Building Safety Regulator information on the final, as-built building. This will include:
updated as-built plans indicating any agreed variations since Gateway Two;