Home / Insight / Managing Safety Risks in High-Rise Residential Buildings: New Guidance

Managing Safety Risks in High-Rise Residential Buildings: New Guidance


On 19 September 2023, the Government issued new guidance for accountable persons (APs) of high-rise residential buildings. 

Who is the AP?

The AP is an organisation or individual who owns or has a legal obligation to repair any common parts of a building, for example, the exterior, corridors, lobbies and staircases. Examples of an AP are:

  • The building owner
  • The landlord
  • A management company

Each building must also have one clearly identifiable accountable person, known as the principal accountable person (PAP). If there is just one AP for a building, then they are the PAP. When there are multiple APs, then whoever owns or has a legal obligation to repair the structure and exterior of the building is the PAP.

APs and PAPs can employ an organisation or individual, like a managing agent, to carry out duties on their behalf; however, they cannot delegate their legal obligations to others. Accountability for making sure their duties are carried out and the liability for the safety of a building remains with the AP and PAP.

What are the AP’s legal duties?

The law says APs must take all reasonable steps to “prevent building safety risks from happening, and to reduce the severity of any incidents” if they do happen.

The Building Safety Act 2022 defines building safety risks as the risk of spread of fire or structural failure.

How can the AP manage ‘building safety risks’?

  1. Check existing safety measures and keep a record of them. You should detail when they were installed and how they are maintained and inspected. If you find problems with the safety measures and they are not sufficient, you should review and amend them. This is particularly important as a building ages and technological advances are made.
  2. Put in place a Safety Management System (SMS). One model that could be used is based on the ‘Plan, Do, Check, Act’ approach. The SMS should be proportionate to the hazards of the building and should be regularly reviewed and updated. Remember to consider both fire-risk and structural-risk scenarios.
  3. Consider triggers for review. If the building undergoes any changes or refurbishment, you should check that they do not affect building safety, both in the refurbished parts of the building and the building overall. During any changes or refurbishment you can also take the opportunity to see if any additional reasonable steps could be taken.
  4. Keep information about risk prevention and protective measures. Consider measures that stop the risk of fire first, such as fire doors and compartmentation. Secondly, consider measures that reduce the severity of an incident if one occurs, such as fire detection measures, sprinklers, and evacuation strategies.
  5. Engage with residents about building safety measures.
  6. Remember to update the Building Safety Regulator if there is a change to the AP and transfer the building safety information to any incoming AP.

For further information, please contact:

Associate Kathryn Quinley in our Crime & Regulatory team

Stay informed with Keoghs


Our Expertise


Claims Technology Solutions

Disrupting claims management with innovation & technology


The service you deliver is integral to the success of your business. With the right technology, we can help you to heighten your customer experience, improve underwriting performance, and streamline processes.