The Hackitt Review proposes solutions to fire and building safety

hakitthDame Judith Hackitt’s report on fire safety aims to provide the right solution to prevent a situation in which any combustible product could be included in a building in a way that might compromise fire or building safety, according to the British Safety Council

The report entitled “Building a Safer Future, Independent Review of Building Regulations and Fire Safety” focuses on addressing unknown issues from becoming serious hazards in the future.

On 14 June 2017, a fire at Grenfell Tower in London took the lives of 71 people and robbed hundreds of others of their homes and possessions. Its impact was felt across the world and the government committed to urgent action to ensure that such a tragedy won’t happen again.

Louise Ward, policy standards and communications director at the British Safety Council, said, “The inquiry’s recommendations, drawn on the principles established under the Health and Safety at Work Act, are ambitious and far reaching. They set the right tone for a new regulatory system that will be fit for purpose in 21st century Britain.”

“The government should extrapolate this robust, effective and proven regime to inform the developing theme of residents safety. We feel that the adoption of a risk-based goal-setting model is appropriate and will underpin proportionality and flexibility. We urge the government to set an ambitious timeline for the second phase of work, which should extend to other buildings,” Ward added.

The British Safety Council welcomes some of the following recommendations:

· The establishment of a joint competent authority (JCA) to oversee fire and building safety

· Application of a systems-based approach to the safety of buildings throughout their whole lifecycle

· Consideration of fire prevention at every stage of design, and a layered approach to protection

· Application of the outcome-based model for building safety. It promotes flexibility, proportionality and adaptability in the regulatory framework

· Identification of duty-holders at each stage of the building lifecycle, together with their associated responsibilities and accountabilities

· Extension of the regime to cover operation and maintenance as well as design and construction of buildings

However, the British Safety Council has expressed concerns regarding some issues including regulatory framework, design, construction and refurbishment, guidance and monitoring, golden thread of building information, combustible material in cladding systems etc.

The British Safety Council supports the consultation regarding a ban on the identified cladding as a short-term measure. The council said that the regime change proposed in the Hackitt report is the right solution to address the systemic failures that allowed this cladding to be installed in the particular configuration at Grenfell. This would prevent yet unknown issues from becoming serious hazards in the future.

Alain Charles Publishing, University House, 11-13 Lower Grosvenor Place, London, SW1W 0EX, UK
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