Work on 50 high-risk projects must pause, says safety regulator

The Building Safety Regulator (BSR) has said that work on more than 50 ‘higher risk’ projects will need to be paused until it can sign off their applications, Construction News can reveal.

The move follows the compulsory liquidation of private registered building control approver AIS Surveyors, which was wound up after a creditor took it to court in May.

The company, also known as Approved Inspector Services and Building Control Special Services, was a central London-based chartered surveyor and approved building control body for all types of buildings.

An email alert sent by the BSR last week and seen by Construction News said that the regulator would need to step in validate applications for any of the affected projects before construction work can continue.

However, it does not have the details of the schemes and is relying on developers to come forward.

The alert said that the issues are also being caused by another private surveyor, Assent, not having signed up to become a registered building control approver (RBCA).

Schemes in question are “in flight” projects that were going through the process of being signed off by the private building control companies prior to the new rules coming into force in October 2023 that meant all high-risk buildings had to be approved by the BSR.

The BSR’s alert states: “You may be aware that AIS Surveyors Ltd, a registered building control approver, has ceased to trade. In addition, Assent has not registered to become an RBCA.

“We expect over 50 in-flight higher-risk building projects will need to now apply to HSE […] and stop work until we have validated their applications.

“As these are ongoing projects we will prioritise applications for these projects over others, except those for remediation work.

“While we have identified a number of these projects, we do not hold a record of all buildings affected.”

It adds that developers may have an “unexpected, additional workload on their current applications”, as a result.

Businesses that carry out building control work needed to register by 6 April to operate as RBCAs. Those who did not are unable to take on new building control work but can complete work they already started before leaving the profession.

The same date was also previously the deadline for individual surveyors to prove their professional competence but under a transitionary arrangement, building safety professionals now have until 6 July to prove their competence.

One building control expert told CN that those registering as RBCAs should have provided the BSR with a list of their in flight projects and demonstrated their financial health. “It beggars belief they thought AIS were in a good financial state in April and they went under the following month,” he said.

Companies House records show AIS Surveyors two issued two moratoriums to protect it from creditor action in 2023, once in July, and once in December.

The BSR refused to comment despite over several days for requests for clarity on the safety issue. Assent has not responded to a request for comment.

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