In the lead up to the delivery of new PBSA accommodation for the 2023/2024 academic year, it is important for members to be full aware of the requirements regarding new and late buildings under the National Code.

These requirements are set in two distinct parts – the New and Refurbished Development Protocol (Appendix 5) and the clauses under Section 3 of the Code entitled Late Construction: Managing the Problem and Communicating with Students, covering clauses 3.14 – 3.23

New and Refurbished Development Protocol

Under Clause 3.14 of the Code, members will abide by the requirements of the New and refurbished buildings protocol. Over the Summer period and in weeks prior to opening a new site, under the terms of the protocol Members are required to seek written assurances from both the developers and contractors of newly-built/refurbished student accommodation that the accommodation will be ready for occupation at the start of the occupancy agreement. These assurances must be sought a designated waypoints in the run-up to occupancy at 8, 6 and 4 weeks.

In terms of assurances, providers should seek from clients/developers a date when a variety of aspects of the development (e.g. bedrooms, common areas, laundry, gym etc) will be ready for occupation/use and whether there is any possibility that these aspects will not be ready for occupation/use on the due occupancy date.

Should the provider receive a negative response from a client/developer at any of these waypoints, the protocol notes the action that must be taken, such as ceasing to market affected rooms and communicating with affected students regarding mitigating measures. Where students are notified of any delays, copies of this should also be sent to the National Code Coordinator, Jess Carrier [email protected]

The protocol can be found as Appendix 5 within the Code document.

Late Construction: Managing the Problem and Communicating with Students (Clauses 3.14 – 3.23)

Once a delay has been identified by a provider, this should be notified clearly to both affected students and the National Code, and the provider should consult the section within the Code of new and late buildings to understand their obligations.

The main points to consider within the clauses are:

  • Suitable alternative accommodation should be provided as close to the affected site and relevant educational institutions as possible
  • When rooms are not ready for occupation, members must give students 7 days to decide whether they want to leave their contract and not impose any financial penalty to do so
  • When a student chooses to remain at their out-of-term address until they can occupy their booked room, no rent should be charged until they move in
  • Any additional costs incurred by the students during their time in alternative accommodation should be reimbursed (see clause 3.19 for the specific circumstances)
  • Ensure that relevant educational institutions and their Students’ Union are notified of the delay
  • No rent should be payable by the student if they still cannot occupy their room after 8 weeks
  • Any relevant payments under clause 3.23 be made in a timely manner

As part of demonstrating compliance, members should be able to provide evidence of having met each area of the requirements, and send this in regular updates directly to the NCC.

It is important that members do not take it upon themselves to re-interpret the requirements of the Code. Any action taken outside of the requirements is at the discretion of the provider and not mitigation for wider non-compliance with the prescribed standards e.g. compensating students whose rooms are not directly affected by delays.