Building A Safer Future’ – Independent Review of Building Regulations and Fire Safety (The Hackitt Review Final Report) and Government Response & Implementation Plan
LTB 304/18 dated 21 May 2018 reported on the publication of the Independent Review of Building Regulations and Fire Safety announced by government in July 2017 following the Grenfell Tower Fire tragedy and was led by former HSE Chair Dame Judith Hackitt. Its purpose was to make recommendations that will ensure a sufficiently robust regulatory system for the future. It examined building and fire safety regulations and related compliance and enforcement with the focus on multi-occupancy high-rise residential buildings. An interim report was published on 18 December 2017 and the final report was published on 17 May 2018. Last month the government published its response to the report and stated that it will implement all the recommendations outlined in the Hackitt review as part of a tougher regulatory system for building safety.
The changes will create a stronger and more effective regulatory framework 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.
Government Response – Implementation Plan:
The plans outlined on 18 December 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 which 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.
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. 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.
The 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.
The government statement said that there is nothing more important than being safe in your own home and the government is determined to improve building safety. The 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, the government will create a more rigorous system so residents will always have peace of mind that they are safe in their own homes.
The Hackitt Review Key Recommendations:
- A new regulatory framework focused, in the first instance, on multi-occupancy higher risk residential buildings (HRRBs) that are 10 storeys or more in height;
- A new Joint Competent Authority (JCA) comprising Local Authority Building Standards, fire and rescue authorities and the Health and Safety Executive to oversee better management of safety risks in these buildings (through safety cases) across their entire life cycle;
- A mandatory incident reporting mechanism for dutyholders with concerns about the safety of a HRBB;
- A set of rigorous and demanding dutyholder roles and responsibilities to ensure a stronger focus on building safety;
- A series of robust gateway points to strengthen regulatory oversight that will require dutyholders to show to the JCA that their plans are detailed and robust;
- A stronger change control process that will require robust record-keeping by the dutyholder of all changes made to the detailed plans previously signed off by the JCA;
- A single, more streamlined, regulatory route to oversee building standards as part of the JCA to ensure that regulatory oversight of these buildings is independent from clients, designers and contractors and that enforcement can and does take place where necessary;
- More rigorous enforcement powers. A wider and more flexible range of powers will be created to focus incentives on the creation of reliably safe buildings from the outset. This also means more serious penalties for those who choose to place residents at risk;
- Clearer rights and obligations for residents to maintain the fire safety of individual dwellings;
- A regulator for the whole of the building (the JCA) in relation to fire and structural safety in occupation; and
- A more effective testing regime for cladding with clearer labelling and product transparency
National Health, Safety & Environment Officer