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The Ultimate Guide to: Higher-Risk Building (HRB) Registration

Feb 15, 2023 | Insight, News, Operations and maintenance, Technology, Ultimate Guides


As part of the new Building Safety Act 2022, the ‘BSA’ requires all existing and newly occupied higher-risk buildings (legal definition) to be registered with the Building Safety Regulator (BSR) if and before they become occupied. Here we ask your most frequent questions, including, but not limited to:

  • Why do we need to do it?

  • Which buildings do we need to register?

  • What information should we include?

  • When do we need to do it?

  • Who is responsible for it?

  • How much will it cost, and how do we do it?

  • Where should it be kept and maintained?


Why do we need to register Higher-Risk Buildings (HRBs)?

Under (section 78) of the BSA, the Building Safety Regulator (BSR) is required to publish a register of the higher-risk buildings (HRBs) that have been registered, which may include the information which was submitted with the application. Including this information in the published register would enable residents and other interested parties to ascertain whether the building is registered and who is responsible for its fire and structural safety.

The information provided is intended to enable the BSR to confirm the location of the building, that it is within the scope of the requirements under the BSA, and identify the persons responsible for the safety of the building and the duties (section 4) of the BSA.

Under section 78 of the BSA, it is a requirement that the BSR publishes a register of the HRBs registered in the UK, which may include the information submitted with the application. Having a publicly available register of this information means residents and other interested parties can ascertain who is responsible for its fire and structural safety.

Why is registering HRBs important?

HRBs are typically those that are taller, larger, or have a greater occupancy than other buildings and are, therefore, more likely to pose a risk to public safety in the event of a fire, earthquake, or other natural disasters. Registering your higher-risk building is, therefore, now required by law as a means of improving public safety.

By registering these buildings, the BSR and local authorities, and the fire services are also able to access and maintain a comprehensive and up-to-date record of the buildings in their jurisdiction, including important information such as their design, construction, and use. This information can then be used to help identify potential safety hazards and develop emergency response plans in the event of an incident. It also helps the BSR develop a set of Key Building Information which they can develop and use to spot trends in which to inform decision-making about the ongoing development of the BSA.

Additionally, registering your higher-risk building helps to ensure that it meets all applicable building codes and standards, and can also provide you with the necessary documentation to secure insurance coverage.


Which buildings do we need to register?

The Principal Accountable Person (PAP) is responsible for applying for the registration of the following Higher-Risk Buildings (HRBs) through the Building Safety Regulator’s (BSR) digital platform;

Occupied HRB Definition: a “higher-risk building” means a building in England that:

  • Is at least 18 metres in height or has at least seven storeys and
  • contains at least 2 “residential units” (meaning a dwelling or any other unit of living accommodation).
  • A higher-risk building is “occupied” if there are more than one residential unit residents.

New-Build/Refurb HRB Definition: during design and construction – under section 120D of the Building Act 1984 (inserted by section 31 of the BSA), should the facility be undergoing design and/or construction since the date of the acts Royal Assent on 28th April 2022, it also (adding to the criteria above), extends to;

  • care homes; and
  • hospitals.

HRBs Subject to Transitional Arrangements: Whenever changes to the building regulations occur, transitional arrangements apply. Existing occupied buildings will need to be registered within a transition period following the new regime coming into force, which will last around six months.

Under the transitional period, those that have already notified a building control body of their plans are allowed to continue under the old rules, provided they have started building work on site. This provides clarity to developers and reduces the risk of retrospective impact resulting from changes to the rules.

So, when a developer submits a building notice, initial notice or full plans application to the local authority, the building regulations standards in place at the time of the application will apply, so long as work under the notice, or application, has already started or starts within a specified period of the notice being given.

The exact transitional provisions are set out in the consultation on the proposed changes to the building regulations.

Before any HRB can be occupied, the BSR must verify that these buildings have been provided with the appropriate completion or final certificate. It is therefore proposed that, in submitting an application for registering HRBs, the PAP must provide a copy of their completion certificate or final certificate. This will enable the BSR to verify that;

  • They have received the requisite certificate before occupation and
  • The building control body overseeing the building is satisfied that it complies with the requirements of building regulations.

A building will not be registered unless a copy of the appropriate certificate has been provided by the Principal Accountable Person (PAP).

For all other buildings (including existing residential blocks being brought into the new system and those built as offices and subsequently converted to residential accommodation), it is proposed that in submitting an application for registration, the PAP must confirm whether, to their knowledge, the building met the appropriate building standards applying at the time of completion.


When do I need to register HRBs?

Commencement: We expect HRB registration to begin in April 2023, with the Building Assessment Certificate (BAC) process forecasted to start in April 2024.

Deadline: There is a proposal that the Principal Accountable Person (PAP) will need to have registered their buildings with the Building Safety Regulator (BSR) by no later than 1st October 2023.

In summary, you have six months from April 2023 to submit your applications to register your HRBs.

If a building becomes occupied after the deadline without being registered, then the principal accountable person will be committing an offence.

When do I register new-build/refurbished HRBs?

If your HRB is a newly built and completed facility and awaiting handover, or undergoing design and construction, or is a newly refurbished facility, the HRB (or the completed part(s) of it) must not be occupied before the building has been registered. However, this cannot be done until you have received the BSR’s Gateway 3 Building Acceptance Certificate (BAC).

This includes all buildings that are designed and constructed under the new building control regime for higher-risk buildings (the gateways process) and buildings that are part way through design and construction since April 2022 when the act received Royal Assent on the 28th April 2022.

It is proposed that, in submitting an application for registration for buildings that have been built under the new building control regime (the gateways process), the PAP must provide the unique reference number that we expect the BSR to give to each HRB whose construction it is overseeing for the building control completion certificate. This will enable the BSR to verify that it has granted a relevant completion certificate (or partial completion certificate) prior to occupation.

We expect full ‘implementation’ of the Building Safety Act in October 2023, which means each building owner should have their building safety regime in place by this time.

Are Gateway 3 and the registration process the same thing?

No. Gateway 3 will take place when building work in higher-risk buildings has been completed. At this stage the Building Safety Regulator (BSR) must be satisfied that as far as it has been able to determine the as-built building complies with building regulations.

New higher-risk buildings (HRBs) can only be registered with the BSR after Gateway 3 has been passed – either for partial or full completion.

Before these buildings can be legally occupied, the Principal Accountable Person (PAP) must register the building with the BSR and identify itself as having overall responsibility for managing fire and structural safety. This will ensure that there is a clearly identifiable person to with the duty to manage building safety risks before the building is occupied.

When will HRBs start to be assessed?

The Building Safety Regulator (BSR) will begin calling in applications for the Building Assessment Certificate (BAC) once registration of all existing occupied high-rise residential buildings is complete.

The BSR recognises that Principal Accountable Persons (PAP) will need time to understand their new responsibilities and prepare the required documents. There will, therefore, be a gap between the new regime coming into force and the first buildings being called in for the Building Assessment Certificate. The BSR want this to be as short as possible but expect this gap to be no longer than 6-12 months. They expect that it will take around five years for all existing occupied buildings to be initially assessed.

On receipt of an application, the BSR will examine the documents provided in the application by the building’s PAP to establish whether those responsible for the building are managing its building safety risks.

It is the duty of the PAP and/or Accountable Persons to assess and manage the building safety risks at all times, not just when called in to apply for an assessment by the regulator.

When will HRBs be assessed for the first time?

Existing occupied high-rise residential buildings will be assessed initially over a period of five years.

The Building Safety Regulator will call in new buildings for assessment for the first time within six months of occupation.

Other existing buildings, for example, those which have gone through a change of use (e.g. an existing block of offices converted into flats) will be called in for an assessment for the first time within six months of occupation.

See the ‘How?’ section below for further information on how HRBs will be prioritised and assessed.


What information do I need to provide to register HRBs?

Whilst secondary legislation will set out the definitive rules about, amongst other matters: information to accompany applications for registration; and the content of the register, we can provide a pretty good assessment of what information is required before then.

We do know, for instance, that in order to register a HRB, the Principal Accountable Person (PAP) must provide some basic details about the building and its Accountable Person(s), such as:

  • Details of the principal accountable person and any other principal accountable people who are responsible for the safety of the building. This information includes the name, contact details and address.

  • The name and title of the nominated individual who will act as a single point of contact for the principal accountable person within the organisation.

  • Confirmation if the principal accountable person is a local authority, a registered private provider of social housing, a registered provider of public social housing, or any other type of organisation.

  • The address of the building and the year it was finished. The age band of the building is also accepted if the precise age is not known information or available. 

  • The number of storeys in the building, its overall height in metres, and the number of dwellings it has.

  • A statement that the information in the register was submitted to the Building Safety Regulator (BSR) to the best of the applicant’s knowledge and is truthful and accurate.

What if the BSR changes the prescribed information required to register HRBs?

This is probably inevitable. The beauty of Operance, however, is that we manage a ‘Master Template’ which describes the very latest HRB Registration information requirements as required by law at the current moment in time (as far as practically possible, meaning that we still need to be informed of any changes ourselves and make the necessary updates to our Master Template). The BSR will no doubt confirm these changes through their channels, and there will be updates to the Building Safety Act (BSA) through secondary legislation. Read more about ‘How’ Operance helps you define, create, access and maintain your HRB Registration information below.

What other information do we need to to provide?

Following a consultation on Key Building Information, the government proposes to require the Principal Accountable Person (PAP) to provide the Building Safety Regulator (PAP) with ‘Key Building Information’ about their building. The PAP will be required to submit this key building information to the BSR alongside, but not as part of, their application for registration. Key building information will also be accessible publicly, with the exception of data which poses a privacy, safety or security risk. This will support great openness and transparency in the sector as recommended by the Building a Safer Future Report.

The PAP will also have to provide updates to the BSR whenever the key building information changes.

The registration information and the key building information will enable the BSR to fulfil their duty to advise government and to make informed decisions to guide the regulatory regime.

Remember, as noted above, it will only become an offence to breach the registration requirement from 1 October 2023. Following 1 October 2023, it will therefore be an offence for an occupied HRB not to be registered, unless there is a reasonable excuse. From the 1 October 2023, the PAP can choose to submit their key building information at the same time as their registration application or submit it within 28 calendar days of their registration application.

This includes buildings that are designed and constructed under the new building control regime for higher-risk buildings (i.e. the gateways process) and buildings that are part way through design and construction when the new building control regime comes into force. It also includes a change of use to residential.

The submission of the key building information does not impact the registration process which is a separate process. For instance, the BSR may be unsatisfied with a key building information submission as there is missing information – however this would not have any impact on the building registration.

What if we successfully registered our HRB but need to update some information?

After the building has been registered with the Building Safety Regulator (BSR), it will be the responsibility of the Principal Accountable Person (PAP) to inform the BSR of any changes to the information supplied as part of the application for registration other than any change of accountable person(s).

All changes must be notified to the BSR within 14 calendar days, excluding Christmas Day, Good Friday or a bank holiday in England and Wales, of either the change occurring or the PAP becoming aware of the change.

Please note that each change, in addition to the original submission fee, will potentially incur additional change fees. Read more about this below in “How much will it cost to register HRBs?”

What happens after HRB registration?

After registration, the Principle Accountable Person (PAP) for a high-risk residential building (HRB) will need to apply for a Building Assessment Certificate (BAC) at the direction of the regulator.

To apply for a Building Assessment Certificate, the PAP will need to send certain important documents to the regulator, including a copy of the Safety Case Report, details about the Mandatory Occurring Reporting System, and a copy of the Residents’ Engagement Strategy.

The regulator will look at the documents and assess whether the PAP is managing their building’s safety risks and keeping residents safe. The regulator may also send an inspector to the building. If the regulator is satisfied that, at the time of assessment, the PAP is managing their building effectively and keeping residents safe, it will issue a Building Assessment Certificate for the building. Where the regulator has concerns, it will advise the PAP what further steps are required and will issue a certificate when the required action has been taken. Where necessary, enforcement action will be taken to ensure the safe management of the building.

The regulator will be responsible for letting the PAP know when they need to apply for their Building Assessment Certificate, via a call-in notification. Once the Accountable Person has received this notification (which will likely be via email) they will have 28 days to send all the required documents to the regulator.

New buildings will be called to apply for their Building Assessment Certificate within six months of occupation.

As there are over 12,500 existing occupied high-rise residential buildings in England, it will take the regulator around five years to assess them all for the first time. Therefore, the regulator will need to prioritise which buildings to assess first. You can find more information about this in the Building Assessment Certificate Transitional Arrangements factsheet.

Buildings will be reassessed periodically by the regulator. How often will depend on the specific building, but every high-rise residential building will be reassessed at least every 5 years.

What happens if we don’t register our HRBs?

Under section 76 of the BSA, an accountable person will commit an offence if they allow the occupation of any residential units, in part or all, of a higher-risk building (HRB) for which they are responsible before a relevant completion certificate is issued.

In addition, section 77 makes it an offence for a Principal Accountable Person (PAP) to allow residential occupation of a HRB before it is registered with the Building Safety Regulator (BSR). This, therefore, requires the PAP to provide the unique reference number for the completion certificate or the partial completion certificate. This will support the BSR in validating that a PAP or accountable person is not breaching these requirements.

In summary, if a building becomes occupied after the deadline without being registered, then the principal accountable person will be committing an offence.


Who is responsible for registering HRBs?

The Principle Accountable Person (PAP) is the organisation or person who owns or has responsibility for the building and, therefore, responsible for submitting an application for HRB registration (as explained under section 77) through the Building Safety Regulator (BSR) digital platform.

To be clear, this is the final step in the process; the definition, assignment, curation and validation of the information required in order to submit an application to register HRBs must be done first. This can be done by the PAP or other Accountable Persons.

It is proposed that a PAP may also designate an ‘agent’ to develop the information required and to submit an application on their behalf, providing that when the application is submitted, the agent confirms they have the authority to make it. If appointed, the agent will act as the point of contact for the BSR in connection with the application.

But to be clear, the legal requirement to register the building cannot be transferred or delegated to an agent. If the PAP appoints an agent to complete the application, and it is not submitted in time, it is the PAP who commits the offence, not the agent.

The agent will also have to confirm the accuracy of the contents of the application on behalf of the PAP. The PAP and the agent must understand that knowingly or recklessly providing false or misleading information to the BSR is also an offence.

In applying for registration (or in providing subsequent changes), it is proposed that the PAP must provide a physical address (not a PO box address) in England and Wales for themselves and an address or addresses for all other accountable person(s) of the building. This is needed for general communication and for the service of notices if required.

Who is responsible for the HRB register?

Within the Building Safety Act (BSA), section 2 names the Building Safety Regulator (BSR) or ‘the regulator’ as the Health and Safety Executive (HSE).

The BSR will have three main functions:

  1. Overseeing the safety and standards of all buildings.
  2. Helping and encouraging the built environment industry and building control professionals to improve their competence.
  3. Leading implementation of the new regulatory framework for high-rise buildings.

The BSR is responsible for maintaining the Higher Risk Building (HRB) register in England, a key tool for identifying and prioritising buildings that require additional safety measures and oversight.

The BSR is a new regulator that forms part of the UK government’s response to the Grenfell Tower fire in 2017. It was established to oversee the safety of high-risk buildings and is responsible for ensuring that buildings (including those that are over 18 meters or six stories high) are designed, constructed, and maintained in accordance with safety regulations.

The BSR is not only responsible for the HRB register, but it will also manage the register of building inspectors and building control approvers.


How do we define, create, access and maintain our HRB Registration information?

Whilst the Principle Accountable Person (PAP) bears ultimate responsibility for applying for HRB registration, any other Accountable Person (AP) and/or internally Nominated Individuals and/or external Agents acting on behalf of the PAP or AP can provide the information required in order to register HRBs.

With this in mind, it is, therefore, far easier to define, create, access and maintain HRB registration information when the platform to do so is:

  • Digital

  • Intuitive

  • Designed with building owners, operatives and occupiers in mind

  • Accessible

  • Viewable

  • Understandable

  • Editable

It is also highly beneficial if the platform to develop and submit HRB information also provides users with the ability to;

  • Validate and verify the information provided

  • Embrace automation (i.e. reducing the time required in order to complete)

  • Be multi-user friendly (i.e. the ability for more than one person to work and save changes at once)

  • Integrate with other platforms, such as the BSR’s own Digital Platform

Think about it, how would you invite various stakeholders to populate the information about not just one of your HRBs, but all your HRBs across your portfolio if you were to use a legacy solution such as Word, Excel etc?

Never fear; Operance is here! 

Operance is the world’s first golden-thread platform, with a specific feature for developing the information you need to register your HRB. Our team has worked hard to break down the Building Safety Act and guidance from the Building Safety Regulator to create a simple step-by-step guide to producing and storing your HRB registration information. You simply add a building, click on HRB Registration and either begin providing the information required by yourself or by assigning others to specific sections.

How do I submit my application to register HRBs?

Application to register HRBs will eventually be made through the Building Safety Regulator’s own digital platform, which, we are led to believe, is currently still in development. We are told it could take up to 2 years to complete the development of this platform, and that is started during the summer of 2022.

Operance plans to be at the forefront of integrability once the BSR digital platform is complete, with the ability to read and share data between the two digital platforms.

However, until this is possible, once HRB information has been provided and it has been validated and verified by the Principle Accountable Person (PAP), they have the option of either exporting the information and sending it to the BSR direct or by inviting their local/assigned BSR operator to access the Operance platform and audit the information from there.

How do I update HRB registration information?

If you are using Operance, it couldn’t be easier! Simply log back into the platform, find the building and begin editing. Any changes made will prompt the system to warn you that changes will need to be resubmitted to the BSR within the next 14 calendar days, excluding Christmas Day, Good Friday or a bank holiday in England and Wales, of either the change occurring or the PAP becoming aware of the change.


How much will it cost developers to register a HRB?

It has been suggested that there will be a chargeable fee for submitting initial HRB registration applications. Additionally, it has been suggested that there will be a fee for re-submissions (as a result of changes in the information, i.e. building names etc).

However, the total cost of these fees has yet to be confirmed by the BSR.

However, as a whole, the government estimate that over the 15-year appraisal period, the registration process alone will cost industry between £2.7 million and £4.1 million, with a central estimate of £3.4 million, in present value (PV) terms. This equates to equivalent annual cost (EAC) of between £0.2 million and £0.3 million over the appraisal period.

They expect it to take the Principal Accountable Person (PAP) a total of 2.5 hours to gather and submit the information required at registration.

If there are changes to registration information and dependant on the level of information change, they estimate it would likely take the PAP roughly 50 minutes (based on the average of an estimated 10 minutes for existing buildings and 1.5 hours for new builds) to notify the BSR of the change.

How much will HRB registration cost for regulators ?

The government estimate that over the 15-year appraisal period, the registration process will cost the regulator between £1.2 million and £1.7 million, with a central estimate of £1.4 million, in present value (PV) terms. This equates to equivalent annual cost (EAC) of roughly £0.1 million over the appraisal period.

They expect the Building Safety Regulator to spend just roughly 15 minutes per application processing the above information that has been submitted.

They also expect industry to have to notify the Building Safety Regulator if any core details of the building or accountable persons change. They therefore expect this to take again just roughly 15 minutes of regulator processing time.

How will the BSR prioritise their assessments?

Existing buildings will be placed into groups or ‘tranches’ for assessment. These will be based on the height of the building and the number of dwellings it contains, so the tallest buildings with the greatest number of dwellings will be placed into the earlier tranches.

The regulator will also have the option, following receipt of information at registration, and in strictly defined circumstances, to move buildings between tranches; for example, buildings with unremediated Aluminium Composite Material (ACM) cladding will be assessed in the first tranche, regardless of height or number of dwellings. The regulator aims to assess all buildings for the first time within five years.

The table below details the tranches and their order of assessment. Height is measured in metres and the number of dwellings includes any flats or apartments in the building, whether or not they are currently occupied.

To use the table, find the building height in the left-hand column and follow the line across to the column with the relevant total number of dwellings in the building; the number in the box is the tranche number. For example, a 35-metre building with 60 dwellings is in tranche 2.


Height of building (in metres)

No. of dwellings: 141+







50+ m








30-49 m








18-29 m








How will the BSR prioritise the HRB tranches?

The Building Safety Regulator proposes to follow a hazard-based approach to prioritising assessments within tranches that reflect the potential to cause harm to people and the consequences of an incident, were a serious fire or structural failure to occur. Buildings with multiple hazard factors are likely to be assessed earlier in each tranche.

The hazard-based prioritisation criteria are currently being developed using multiple information sources. The regulator is also consulting with stakeholders, including drawing on the Building Risk Review carried out by the Fire and Rescue Services.

Prioritisation factors will be considered in combination and might include, for example, presence of a single staircase and no sprinklers, previous refurbishments that crossed multiple floors such as replacement heating, the hazards from mixed-use of a building (e.g. commercial businesses), and the type of external wall system.

How will the BSR carry out reassessments?

Following the initial assessments, the Building Safety Regulator (BSR) will reassess the Principal Accountable Persons (PAP) management of building safety risks at least every five years. Some may be reassessed earlier than the five-year limit.

The timing for being called for reassessment will depend on a set of criteria which are currently in development. Factors that could lead to more frequent reassessment include, past performance in the assessment process, a change in PAP or Accountable Person(s), a significant refurbishment, or other intelligence from sources such as complaints raised by residents.

How long is the Building Assessment Certificate valid for?

The Building Assessment Certificate (BAC) is designed to show that, at the time of assessment, the Regulator was satisfied that the Principle Accountable Persons (PAP) were managing the safety risks in their building effectively and keeping residents safe. The PAP is responsible for managing the building and ensuring it continues to remain safe.

The regulator will reassess every building at least every five years.


Where should we store our HRB registration information?

Whatever platform you choose to use in order to define, access, curate and maintain your Higher-Risk Buildings (HRB) registration information, it should be digital first and foremost and it should be secure. But also, let’s not forget that it should also form part of your Golden Thread of Information.

As set out in the consultation sections on registration and certification all occupied HRBs will need to be registered and to apply, when directed, for a building assessment certificate. The government propose that the Principal Accountable Person (PAP) should store in the golden thread the information/documentation required for registration and for the application for a Building Assessment Certificate (BAC).

Should you choose Operance as your golden thread platform of choice, you should be safe in the knowledge that your data is secured on British data servers, provided by the world’s most advanced and secure data server provider. Not only this, but your information is protected and trackable thanks to our golden thread activity log.

Now, is your moment to build a safer future. Don’t delay, start creating your Golden Thread today!


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