Harsher punishments against companies that break building regulations are needed in the wake of the Grenfell Tower tragedy, construction industry experts have said.
‘‘Severe’’ sanctions should be introduced to enforce compliance with regulations and force ‘‘cultural change’’, the housing, communities and local government select committee was told.
Construction Products Association deputy chief executive Peter Caplehorn told the committee: “We [as an industry] have little respect for compliance and that is about the complexities of the building regulations, but it is also about sanctions.
“If you effectively get something very serious, very wrong, there is very little comeback in the current regime. People have got to realise that they will be pulled up if they get things wrong, and there will be consequences of that.”
Royal Institute of British Architects executive director Adrian Dobson added that a model that “brings statutory duties and criminal liabilities is the prod that the industry needs” to change.
The parliamentary committee is investigating the immediate and longer-term changes needed to improve the safety of residential tower blocks, and is gathering industry opinions on Dame Judith Hackett’s independent review into building regulations, which was published in the wake of the high-rise fire in which 72 people died.
The review said fundamental reform is required to rebuild trust in high rise buildings, however it has stopped short of recommending a ban on flammable cladding. The government has launched a consultation into whether to ban combustible materials on tower blocks.
Damning expert reports published by a separate public inquiry found that the tower had “multiple catastrophic fire-spread routes” which were created during the cladding construction.
Like what you’ve read? To receive New Civil Engineer’s daily and weekly newsletters click here.