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Building regulation and fire safety review needed, says official review

Following the tragic events at Grenfell Tower and subsequent review, a new regulatory framework is needed to ensure that residents are safe. That’s according to the report into the fire. 71 people died in the tower and the Independent Review of Building Regulations chaired by Dame Judith Hackitt has made several recommendations in order to keep people safer in their homes and to rebuild trust.

The new system that will be put in place will see the construction industry at the heart of it, taking responsibility to deliver safer buildings rather than looking to external guidelines. The current system was revealed to be far too complex, which was making it difficult for builders to understand and meet guidelines.

The report said: ‘It lacks clarity as to who is responsible for what, and there is inadequate regulatory oversight and enforcement. Simply adding more prescription or making amendments to the current system, such as restricting or prohibiting certain practices, will not address the root cause.’

It added: ‘The recommendations in this report will lead to a clearer, simpler but more robust approach to the building and on-going management of high rise residential buildings.’

Overall, the report found that a new framework is required to help improve fire and building safety for everyone. This new framework will improve standards for both new and existing buildings with new ideas to be rolled out across the sector. These will be less prescriptive with clearer roles set out across the industry. It is hoped that this will really boost accountability across the construction sector.

The new guidelines also call for residents to be consulted and involved in decision making, with a better system for reporting concerns.

The report is echoing what many people in the industry have been saying for some time. There needs to be a rebuilding of public trust and a greater degree of understanding within the industry. The Federation of Master Builders had this to say about the report: ‘Today’s report is the culmination of a long and thorough review into the weaknesses of the current approach to competency and compliance in the sector, weaknesses which can serve to undermine safety’.

Adding: ‘It is a suitably serious response to the Grenfell Tower tragedy. Dame Judith has understandably focused the attention of the review on high rise residential buildings, but we believe strongly that some of the recommendations must be taken as a blueprint for the wider industry.’

To find out more about the report and the proposed new regulations, and how this could affect landlords, get in touch with the Agile team.