The Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government James Brokenshire has announced the Government is implementing all of the Hackitt recommendations and a stronger, more effective regulatory framework is being introduced to improve building safety.
This will mean tougher sanctions for those who disregard residents’ safety, more rigorous standards and guidance for those undertaking building work, and a stronger voice for residents. The plans outlined explain how the Government will implement the recommendations made by Dame Judith Hackitt in her review of Building Regulations and Fire Safety published following the Grenfell Tower fire.
Building a Safer Future commits the Government to a programme of reform over the coming years that will:
- Take forward all of the recommendations in the Hackitt review
- Create a more effective regulatory and accountability framework to provide greater oversight of the industry
- Introduce clearer standards and guidance, including establishing a new Standards Committee to advise on construction product and system standards and regulations
- Put residents at the heart of the new system of building safety, empowering them with more effective routes for engagement and redress
- Help to create a culture change and a more responsible building industry, from design, through to construction and management
The Government will establish the Joint Regulators’ Group to trial elements of a new regulatory system ahead of any new proposed legislation. The group will bring existing regulatory bodies together to work with developers and building owners, as well as seeking input from residents and tenants, to develop and test new approaches that may later feature in legislation.
Fire safety review
In addition to setting out its plans to implement the changes called for by Dame Judith Hackitt, a full review of fire safety guidance within Building Regulations has also been launched. Government has issued a ‘call for evidence’ that will gather expert advice on the full range of fire safety issues to enable guidance to be revised. Government is also inviting views from residents and those who manage buildings on how to improve fire and structural safety. Residents and building owners are invited to identify the best ways of working together to meet safety responsibilities and to share existing good practice.
Secretary of State for Communities, Rt Hon James Brokenshire MP said: “There is nothing more important than being safe in your own home and I am determined to improve building safety. My plan for stronger, tougher rules will make sure there is no hiding place for those who flout building safety rules. By making people responsible and more accountable for safety, we will create a more rigorous system so residents will always have peace of mind that they are safe in their own homes.”
LABC welcomes the announcement and is working with colleagues from the Local Government Association (LGA), National Fire Chief’s Council (NFCC) and the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) to accelerate progress and to identify and run pilots.
LABC Chief Executive, Paul Everall, commented: “The Secretary of State has shown leadership by recognising the need for systemic reform of the building safety regime by implementing Dame Judith Hackitt recommendations in full.
“LABC has pledged to provide full support to the new Joint Regulators Group and we are ready with resources, people and expertise. LABC already has the largest group of experienced building control surveyors with demonstrable competency in fire safety in England and Wales — all validated by the Institution of Fire Engineers. And we have been heavily investing in standards and competencies — supported by our UKAS accredited quality management systems. This has combined with a 16% rise in recruitment across public service building control which means we are ideally placed to provide the expert support this shadow regulator needs.”
Commenting on the announcement Jonathan O’Neill, Managing Director of the Fire Protection Association said: “The Fire Protection Association are particularly encouraged by the announcement for a review of the fire aspects of the building regulations, but state that 18 months after the tragedy at Grenfell, this exercise is long overdue and needs to be concluded quickly.
“We welcome the acknowledgement of the value of third-party certificated products, but believe this assurance should be mandated and extend to the installers of products and the risk assessors. There is clearly much to do but we are keen to see change as soon as possible and will help in any way we can to ensure that we never experience a tragedy on the scale we witnessed at Grenfell — on our or any future generations’ watch.”