Duty holders and compliance

Clients (including building owners), designers and contractors have always held responsibilities for compliance with building regulations, especially the owner who is ultimately responsible for their properties compliance with building regulations and upon on whom ultimate responsibility will lie should a building be found not to be compliant, whether during or after a construction phase, or upon acquiring a building later.

Thus the importance of choosing designers and contractors wisely, in the knowledge that they can design and construct in a manner that evidences compliance with building regulations.

Equally, before deciding to acquire ownership of a building it is prudent for the prospective owner to use due diligence to gather all necessary evidence that the building they seek to purchase does actually comply with all relevant requirements of the building regulations (together with all other legislation and  requirements). Failure to do so, may result in an owner finding that they are liable for additional costs, efforts and upheaval in making applications, designing projects and undertaking building work to secure compliance; worse still without undertaking due diligence, their acquired building may not safe to use or occupy.

Recent changes in law

By virtue of the recent amendments to the Building Regulations 2010 (as amended) made via The Building Regulations etc (Amendment) (England) Regulations 2023 that came into force on the 1 October 2023, Regulation 6 'Amendments relating to duty holders and competence'; has established Part 2A "Duty Holders and Competence" within the current building regulations.

These changes affect all clients, designers and contractors.

These new rules follow the principles laid down in the Construction, (Design and Management) Regulations 2015 (CDM 2015) and provide duties and responsibilities for Clients, Designers and Builders, including domestic clients and those who design and construct projects for domestic clients.

Part 2A of the current building regulations is essential reading for all prospective clients, designers and contractors.

Part 2A consists of five Chapters, these consist of:

  1. Chapter One – the Role of the Client
  2. Chapter Two – the appointment of principal designers and principal contractors
  3. Chapter Three – Competence
  4. Chapter Four – Duties of Duty Holders
  5. Chapter Five – General

Under Chapter Four – Duties of Duty Holders

Regulation 11J – General Duty states

For contractors, builders, tradespeople, crafts people and DIYers:  

11J (1) Any person carrying out any building work must ensure the work carried out by them (and by any workers under their control) is planned, managed and monitored so as to be in compliance with all relevant requirements.

For building designers, surveyors, clients and contractors:

11J (2)    Any person carrying out any design work must take all reasonable steps to ensure design the work carried out by them (and by any workers under their control) is planned, managed and monitored so that the design is such that if the building work to which the design relates were built in accordance with that design the building work would be in compliance with all relevant requirements.