The government has released the terms of reference for an independent review of fire safety regulations following the Grenfell Tower fire.
The “urgent” review, led by manufacturing trade body EEF chairwoman Dame Hackitt, was launched after fire safety tests on cladding samples led by testing body BRE. Almost 200 samples of aluminium composite material (ACM) cladding, similar to that used in the recent Grenfell refurbishment, failed the first round of testing, while four large-scale cladding systems also failed large scale tests.
The tests followed questions about the extent to which Grenfell Tower’s exterior cladding system contributed to the spread of the fire that ripped through the north-west London high-rise on 14 June.
The review will aim to map the current regulatory system, assess the way it is intended to operate and how it operates in practice and make recommendations to ensure it is fit for purpose with a focus on high-rise residential buildings.
It will also compare regulation systems in the UK to international systems and consider the competencies, duties and responsibilities of key individuals in ensuring fire safety standards are observed.
Communities secretary Sajid Javid said: “We must learn the lessons of the Grenfell Tower tragedy and ensure that a fire like this cannot happen again.
“Following the fire, I commissioned a series of large-scale tests, which have raised the question of whether there have been potential systemic failures within the building regulatory and fire safety system.
“This independent review led by Dame Hackitt will address any potential failures and recommend how we ensure the whole building regulations and fire safety system is robust. I am determined that we do everything possible to make people safe and to ensure that they feel safe.”
The review will run alongside the statutory inquiry headed by Sir Martin Moore-Bick and will “co-operate fully” with the Public Inquiry.
Dame Hackitt said: “I look forward to working with experts from across different sectors to take an urgent, fresh and comprehensive examination of the regulatory system and related compliance and enforcement issues.
“It’s right that we consider the whole system together and ensure that everything possible is done to improve the safety of buildings.
“I will also be speaking to residents of multi occupancy residential buildings who must have a voice about these important issues that affect their safety.”
An interim report will be submitted to Javed and home secretary Amber Rudd this autumn to identify whether changes can be made while the review is ongoing.
A final report will be submitted in spring next year and the government’s response will be presented to Parliament.