Dame Judith Hackitt has published her review of building regulations and fire safety, commissioned in the wake of the Grenfell Tower fire which killed 71 people last year.
The review stopped short of recommending an outright ban on combustible cladding – which some experts believe contributed to the rapid spread of the fire, but instead called for reform of the construction sector.
At the heart of the reform Hackitt said the construction industry would be required to take responsibility for the delivery of safe buildings.
Here is industry reaction as it comes in:
15:15 The Royal Academy of Engineering has welcomed the report. Its chief executive Dr Hayaatun Sillem said: “This approach is essential to ensure that all elements of the system, from the people who design the building, to regulations, oversight and maintenance, work together to ensure that buildings are as safe as possible for people to live in. It is now vital that changes in culture and practice are delivered on the ground in the building sector. Dame Judith’s recommendations should drive this change, and the engineering profession stands ready to work with government and other professions to deliver this in practice.”
14:30 Kensington Labour MP Emma Dent Coat calls the decision not to recommend a ban on combustible materials in cladding a “betrayal”.
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13:15 The government has announced it is to consult on banning the use of combustible materials in cladding systems on high-rise residential buildings.
In a statement to Parliament, housing secretary James Brokenshire MP said: ”We agree with the call for greater clarity and accountability over who is responsible for building safety during the construction, refurbishment and on-going management of high-rise homes.”
He added the government agreed with Hackitt’s recommendations for regulatory reform and there should be no “no buck passing between different parts of the industry” and it should work in unison to achieve change.
12:45 Immediate past president of RIBA and chair of the RIBA’s expert advisory group on fire safety, Jane Duncan says:
“This was supposed to be a Review of Building Regulations and Fire Safety following the tragedy at Grenfell Tower. It’s a thorough report on the current state of the regulatory system and construction industry, but it offers no changes whatsoever to the actual regulations or baseline guidance.
Focusing on just a small number of very high buildings is a major missed opportunity. By failing to ban the use of combustible materials and ‘desktop’ studies, or require use of sprinklers, the report’s recommendations will not deliver the immediate change that is needed to reassure and safeguard the public. We will be continuing to work with Government to ensure that our recommendations are re-considered.”
12:17 Arcadis says the publication of the Independent Review into Building Regulations and Fire Safety, ‘Building a Safer Future’ marks the first steps, post-Grenfell, for industry to recover the confidence of the public in the safety of the buildings that they live or work in.
UK MD for buildings Edel Christie says: “Although major disasters like Grenfell are thankfully rare, the findings of the Hackitt Review point to multiple weaknesses in regulation, competence and allocation of responsibility on building projects. Industry’s inability to assure and demonstrate that all parties, owners, constructors or operators have taken responsibility for their part in the process lies at the heart of the broken business model highlighted by the Grenfell tragedy. This has undermined confidence in the integrity and safety of buildings, and we need to rebuild this trust as quickly as possible. The Review Team have worked fast in developing their report, but the recommendations now require both government and industry to maintain this momentum. Our sector needs to act quickly, focusing on how we change the way responsibility is divided on projects, working with the government and the supply chain to ensure that we all understand how we can properly fulfil our roles.”
11:44 Following the Grenfell Tower fire, the London Assembly Planning Committee released a report into fire safety calling for sprinklers to be mandatory in all new buildings above 18 metres.
In response to the release of the final report of the Independent Review of Building Regulations and Fire Safety today, Navin Shah AM, author of the report, said “It’s very disappointing that this review of building and fire regulations has not recommended sprinklers or other similar systems to be made mandatory in all buildings above 18 metres. The Fire Commissioner said introducing sprinklers in this way is a “no-brainer”, so it’s deeply concerning that the Government continues to overlook the seriousness of this issue.
“The appalling tragedy of Grenfell must never happen again. This is a dangerous missed opportunity to ensure people can feel safe in their homes and I would urge a rapid rethink.”
10:30 Local Government Association chairman Lord Porter calls the outcome “disappointing ”.
“Our immediate priority is to ensure that a fire like that at Grenfell never happens again, and to make certain the buildings which people live, visit and work in are safe today. It is therefore disappointing that Dame Judith has stopped short of recommending a ban on combustible materials and the use of desktop studies, both essential measures to improve safety.”
10:10 The Institution of Civil Engineers releases its response. Director general Nick Baveystock says: “The Hackitt Review’s recommendations in many respects align with those put forward by ICE in its interim In Plain Sight report, which focused on the safety of infrastructure assets. It is important the construction industry continues to strive to ensure the highest levels of competence, working coherently to improve the governance of the development, management and operation of assets.”
He said the ICE welcomed and supported recommendations of a clear model of risk ownership, the proposal for an overarching body to provide oversight of competence requirements and a new regulatory framework.
09:46 London Labour MP David Lammy tweets that the review is a “betrayal and whitewash.” One of his friends died in the fire.
09:30 Embargo on the Hackitt Review is lifted. Here’s a link to New Civil Engineer’s breaking news story.