The British Board of Agrément has welcomed the government’s announcement that it is to implement all recommendations put forward by the Hackitt review.
Dame Judith Hackitt’s Independent Review of Building Regulations and Fire Safety, commissioned by the government following the Grenfell Tower tragedy and published in May 2018, put forward more than 50 recommendations.
It said: “This new regulatory regime needs to change the culture and mindset of those people and businesses involved in the design, construction, maintenance and operation of certain buildings so that they take proper ownership of the potential building safety risks and provide intelligent leadership in managing and controlling those risks (rather than being told by government what to do).”
James Brokenshire, Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government announced earlier this week that a stronger and more effective regulatory framework is being introduced to improve building safety.
There will be tougher sanctions for those who disregard residents’ safety, more rigorous standards and guidance for those undertaking building work, and a stronger voice for residents.
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.
“There is nothing more important than being safe in your own home and I am determined to improve building safety,” said Brokenshire.
“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.”
Welcoming the news, BBA chief executive Claire Curtis-Thomas said: “The industry has continuously argued for tougher standards and by introducing clearer guidance, including establishing a new Standards Committee to advise on construction product and system standards and regulations, we can continue to work with the government to enable rigorous oversights are put in place for those undertaking building work, which will in turn provide a stronger voice for residents.
“The BBA believes that a culture change must be instituted, helping to create a more responsible building industry, from design through to construction and management,” added Ms Curtis-Thomas.
The BBA, working with Local Authority Building Control (LABC), gained widespread industry support for their 100% Hackitt initiative, which called for full implementation of Dame Judith’s recommendations.
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 by the Government.
It 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.