Summary of the new Gateway 2 requirements coming into force in October 2023
What is Gateway 2?
Following the Hackitt report, the government announced a number of changes to the Building Control process including:
- Gateway 1: Planning Application
- Gateway 2: New Building Control Application process
- Gateway 3: Completion
- The update to the DMPO 2015 requires the applicant to submit a Fire Statement with an application for planning permission for development of a building over 11metres
- The Fire Statement is a fairly basic form available from the government website.
- Fire statements will support the consideration by Planning departments of information on fire safety issues relevant to land use planning e.g. where fire safety issues relate to site layout and access. It is the intention that the information provided within the fire statement is focussed and concise, specific and relevant to the development, and proportionate to the scale, type and complexity of the proposal.
Fire statements should be completed by someone with the relevant qualifications and experience, such as a Fire Engineer.
The London Plan recommends that the Fire Statement sets out to embed fire safety principles in the application and demonstrate that Policy D12 have been considered in the proposal.
A full planning application should include a Fire Statement with sufficient level of detail to address the criteria identified in Section B of Policy D12.
The local planning authority can then include a condition attached to the grant of planning permission requiring the development to be carried out in accordance with the provisions of the Fire Statement.
The Fire Statement only relates to the element of the works that the applicant is applying for, so this means for example, if the applicant wishes to change combustible timber decking on balconies to a non-combustible alternative such as Luxura decking, then the Fire Statement only needs to cover the extent of the change of the decking material (and any associated combustible decking support structures).
If there are any changes to the scheme which require subsequent Section 96a or Section 73 applications, an amended Fire Statement should also be submitted which incorporates the proposed scheme amendments so that the content of the Fire Statement always remains consistent with the latest scheme proposals. This could be a visual change such as the colour of the non-combustible decking.
If the proposed development is submitted as an outline planning application this should be accompanied by an Outline Fire Statement, the associated outline planning permission should include a condition which requires the submission of a Fire Statement as part of any subsequent reserved matters application.
For existing buildings, there is a provision which allows you to do maintenance and like for like replacements without planning permission, but it must be genuinely the same appearance. For such planning applications it is generally advisable to include a fire statement and do a pre-application consultation with the council first. In this instance the fire statement gives the main reasons to approve the application. The replacement of combustible timber decking is a good example of this, as changing from combustible timber decking, to a different material such as aluminium decking has been seen to require planning approval from some local councils and as such planning permission and a fire statement for the aluminium decking has been required. Whereas, Blazeboard Luxura non-combustible decking has a timber appearance with non-combustible performance and therefore it has been seen that where this is the only change, councils in the past have not required planning permission applications or a fire statement for this change, because the appearance of the decking has not significantly changed. It is usually advisable to have a consultation with the council first.
Gateway 2: New Building Control Application process
Released on 17th August 2023, The Building (Higher-Risk Buildings Procedures) (England) Regulations 2023 (legislation.gov.uk) come into effect on the 1st of October 2023.
What are the differences between Gateway 2 and the old Building Control Process?
The new process is similar to the old process in some ways, for example, the applicant must:
- Submit and application for approval
- Be granted approval
- Satisfy any pre-start conditions
- Notify the regulator of the date they intend to start.
However the implementation of these means that in practice the process can be quite different. Firstly, under the new process the building control application for higher-risk buildings is made to the Building Safety Regulator, whereas previously it would be the local council Building Control Department.
A key difference between gateway 2 and the older building control process is the information which needs to be submitted with the application:
In addition to the drawings showing the dimensions of the building and how it relates to the relevant boundaries, the application needs to include all information necessary to show how the work will comply with all applicable requirements of the building regulations. This is a significant change because it requires a lot more detail than previously.
New documentation required for a gateway 2 application:
- Competence Declaration
- Construction Control Plan
- Change Control Plan
- Mandatory Occurrence Reporting System
- Building Regulations Compliance Statement
- Fire and Emergency File
- Where relevant, a Partial Occupation Strategy
- Signed statement by the client
Once the application has been submitted, the Regulator should determine whether the application is approved or rejected with 12 weeks (or longer if agreed).
Within this 12 week period the Regulator needs to consult the Fire Brigade and the sewerage provider for their comments.
The application may be rejected if:
– It is not complete or the correct process has not been followed
– There are details missing, for example if the application doesn’t show how certain requirements of the building regulations will be complied with
– There are contraventions of the building regulations
– There are likely contraventions of:
o Details about changes to documents or the applicant
o The Golden Thread (Click here to find out What is the Golden Thread? )
o Mandatory Occurrence Reporting
o The competence of dutyholders
In some circumstances, the regulator may approve the application with conditions requiring specific further information to be provided by a certain time or a certain stage of construction.
If the applicant proceeds beyond the approval point of construction, this may result in an Offence.
When can work start?
Once approved, the applicant needs to give at least five working days notice to the Regulator to advise when they plan to start work.
Can you make design changes after a Gateway 2 application?
All changes are subject to change control and record keeping requirements. Changes are categorized as:
– Recordable Change
– Notifiable Change
– Major Change
The Regulator has 6 weeks to consider and approve or reject the change.
– Change to the material of use of any part of the building
– Change to the use of the building
– Changes to the overall dimensions of the building
– Change to the number of storeys
– Changes to the width of staricases
– Changes to evacuation lifts
– Changes to the external wall (e.g wall tie or support system)
– Changes to any part of the active or passive fire sategy systems
– Any change to a proposed product which has a lower reaction to fire classification (such as a change from A1 to A2,S1-d0). Such as a change from Luxura to an aluminium decking on the balconies.
– Change to the number of flats or commercial units
– Change to the construction control plan
– Change to the Change Control plan
– Change to apartment layout inside an apartment
– Change to the numer of dimensions of any opening in any wall
– Change of any construction material to the same or better reaction to fire classification. Such as a change from decking of reaction to fire classification of A1 to another decking product with the same reaction to fire classification.
– Change to the partial completion strategy
– Change to the fire and emergency file
– The change of one aluminium decking product to another aluminium decking product with the same design specifications.
Within the Golden Thread of information, the applicant needs to host all design changes, and notifications from the Regulator as well as all the design information about the works.
The Golden Thread needs to be electronic and accessible to everyone who needs access and must be passed on where a duty holder changes, for example a change to the Responsible Person.
Does Gateway 2 apply to works to existing buildings?
If the building meets the higher-risk residential building criteria (or the proposed works will turn it into a higher-risk building), then the application will need to go through the gateway 2 process.
Gateway 2 application requires all the same documentation (in relation to the scope of the proposed works) as a new building (Golden Thread, Competence, Mandatory Occurrence Reporting etc).
The work is not regarded as being commenced until at least 15% of the proposed work is completed.
At the end of the project, the client needs to make an application for a Completion Certificate
This needs to include:
1. Details about the applicant and the building and a statement at the as-built building complies with all relevant building regulations.
2. Final drawings about the building
3. The final agreed documents:
a. Construction Control Plan
b. Change Control Plan
c. Mandatory Occrence Reporting Plan
d. Buidling Regulations compliance stement
e. Fire and Emergency File
4. Copy of the change Control Log
5. Compliance Declaration by the principal contractor
6. Compliance Declaration by each Principal Designer
7. Confirmation that the information needed to manage the building safely has been provided to the relevant persons (regulation 38).
The Regulator has 8 weeks to approve or reject the application. Within this time the regulator will consult with the Fire Brigade and the Sewerage authority and will make an inspection of the building.
There are separate regulations which govern the occupation phase (Building Assessment Certificates etc), which we will comment on separately.