Following the tragic fire at Grenfell Tower in June an independent review of Building regulations and Fire Safety was launched.
The Chair of this independent review has found that a “universal shift in culture” is required to rebuild trust amongst residents of high-rise buildings and significantly improve the way that fire safety is assured.
Dame Judith Hackitt, who was appointed by government to lead released the interim report this week. Alongside her interim report, Dame Judith is calling on the construction industry, building owners, regulators and government to come together to address the ‘shortcomings’ identified so far.
The interim report finds that:
- a culture change is required – with industry taking greater responsibility for what is built – this change needs to start now
- the current system for ensuring fire safety in high-rise buildings is not fit for purpose
- a clear, quick and effective route for residents to raise concerns and be listened to, must be created
In particular the report has identified 6 broad areas for change required:
- ensuring that regulation and guidance is risk-based, proportionate and unambiguous
- clarifying roles and responsibilities for ensuring that buildings are safe
- improving levels of competence within the industry
- improving the process, compliance and enforcement of regulations
- creating a clear, quick and effective route for residents’ voices to be heard and listened to
- improving testing, marketing and quality assurance of products used in construction
Dame Judith has consulted widely in developing her interim report and will continue to do so in the coming months before making her final recommendations.
I have been deeply affected by the residents of high rise buildings I have met and I have learned so much from them. These buildings are their homes and their communities. They are proud of where they live, but their trust in the system has been badly shaken by events of the last few months. We need to rebuild that trust.
The independent review will now undertake its second phase of work – including targeted work in partnership with the sector and other stakeholders.
A summit involving government and representatives from the building industry will take place in the New Year and a final report will be published in spring 2018.