The Grenfell Tower Fire was one of the worst disasters of modern times, leaving 71 people dead and hundreds homeless. As part of the Government’s response to the Fire, the then Home Secretary commissioned Dame Judith Hackitt to undertake an independent review of Building Regulations and in particular their impact on Fire Safety. A year on from the tragedy, Dame Judith has published her final report.
It is fair to say that reaction to the report has been mixed to say the least. In the opinions of some, it is a brave and laudable attempt to change the culture of the construction industry. Others contend however that the report is a wasted opportunity and that Dame Judith’s recommendations do not go far enough.
A notable omission from the report is the failure to address combustible cladding (a major factor in the disaster). The Government nevertheless, no doubt mindful of a backlash, announced a consultation on the issue almost immediately after the report was published.
Despite this omission, the report highlights a number of interesting points.
The main finding from the report is that “the current system of building regulations and fire safety is not fit for purpose and that a culture change is required to support the delivery of buildings that are safe, both now and in the future.”
Dame Judith recommends a new regulatory framework to address these weaknesses. The overriding theme is a move towards an outcomes based approach to building safety where industry takes responsibility for its actions.
The key proposals are:
A link to the full report can be found here.
The general consensus appears to be split over Dame Judith’s proposals. Many suggest that the recommendations are excellent in theory, but not achievable practically. Others suggest that implementation of the proposals is unlikely given that the government is currently bogged down with issues such as Brexit. Only time will tell.