The government has promised to crackdown on those who disregard residents’ safety and implement in full recommendations made by Dame Judith Hackitt who lead an independent review into building regulations and fire safety following the Grenfell Tower tragedy.
The review published in May set out six broad areas for change which included ensuring that regulation and guidance is risk-based, improving levels of competence within the industry and proper enforcement of regulations.
It also concluded that an indifference and ignorance of rules had led to a “race to the bottom” in building safety, whereby cost is prioritised over safety.
A reform programme called Building a Safer Future comes on the back of Hackitt’s final report and commits the government to a number of changes over the coming years.
Furthermore, the government has pledged to 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.
Building for a Safer Future commitments:
- 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
A full review of fire safety guidance within building regulations has also been launched. The 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.
Communities secretary James Brokenshire 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.”