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Building Safety Act (BSA) Responsible Actors Scheme: What you need to know

Thursday 11th May
Building Safety Act (BSA) Responsible Actors Scheme: What you need to know

The government has published guidance on the Responsible Actors Scheme (RAS) that will introduce planning and building control prohibitions on those that don’t sign up for it. RAS prevents eligible developers from starting or completing developments in England unless they sign and comply with the conditions of the RAS and comply with the Developers’ Remediation Contract (DRC). Most developers have now signed the contract.

What is RAS?  

RAS incentivises developers to fix buildings and reimburse taxpayers. Developers must fix fire safety defects in residential buildings over 11m in height and reimburse government schemes paid for by taxpayers. So far, only the basic structure, eligibility criteria and membership conditions have been disclosed, but further details will be published when the RAS comes into effect in early summer. The government plans affect “major housebuilders” and “other large developers”, but the scheme will be expanded to other developers who have developed or refurbished defective 11m+ buildings.  

The companies that sign the government contract will reimburse any funds they have drawn from the £5.1bn Building Safety Fund created by the government to remediate cladding defects.   

Who’s eligible to join the scheme?  

Eligible developers are those with an average annual operating profit over a 3-year period (companies’ financial years ending 2017, 2018, and 2019) of £10 million or above or have otherwise volunteered to sign the DRC and join the scheme.   

The guidance requires members to do the following:  

  • Identify residential buildings 11m or taller buildings they developed or refurbished over the past 30 years and any of those buildings known to have life-critical fire safety defects.  
  • Repair or pay for the repair of life-critical fire safety defects in those buildings.  
  • Reimburse government schemes for taxpayer-funded work to repair defects in those buildings.  
  • Meet all other obligations of the DRC, including keeping residents and the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities (DLUHC) updated on the progress.  
  • Comply with requests for information made by the Secretary of State under the contract and regulations.  

Other additional membership conditions may be introduced through the regulations, including a ‘fit and proper person test’ for directors and senior managers of members of the scheme.

What are “prohibited persons”? 

Firms that do not join become “prohibited persons” who work on any “major development” in England. The guidance sets out that major developments are:  

  • Schemes providing ten or more residential units
  • Residential schemes on a site at least 0.5 hectares in size (where it is not known if it will provide ten units or more)   
  • Commercial development creating at least 1000 square metres of floorspace 
  • Developments on a site over 1 hectare in size  

A prohibited person will also be prevented from gaining building control approval for any building work that requires such approval. This includes both future work and sites where work has already begun. As a result, contractors may have to terminate or suspend work

RAS – Key dates   

Draft regulations are expected in Spring 2023. The next phase of the scheme may widen membership criteria to include a broader range of contractors.

Further information

Responsible Actors Scheme: key features – GOV.UK (

RIBA forms coalition to urge government fire safety action – A Royal Institute of British Architects-led coalition calls on the government to adopt an 18-metre maximum height threshold for new residential buildings with a single staircase.

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