Grenfell review calls for construction “culture change”

Grant Prior 3 months ago

Construction is being ordered to implement a “universal shift in culture” following the Grenfell fire.

A review of building regulations and fire safety in the wake of the tragedy has found the current system is not fit for purpose to protect tower blocks.

Review lead Dame Judith Hackitt has published an interim report which slams the current rules and regulations covering new building standards.

She said: “I have found that the regulatory system for safely designing, constructing and managing buildings is not fit for purpose.

“The current system is highly complex and there is confusion about the roles and responsibilities at each stage. In many areas there is a lack of competence and accreditation.

“While this does not mean all buildings are unsafe, it does mean we need to build a more effective system for the future.

“That is why I am today calling for the construction industry, building owners, regulators and government to come together to identify how to overcome these shortcomings together.”

Dame Judith also admitted she was “shocked” by anecdotal evidence about some construction practices and vowed to weed out firms who try to cut corners.

She said: “There is plenty of good practice but it is not difficult to see how those who are inclined to take shortcuts can do so.

“Change control and quality assurance are poor throughout the process. What is initially designed is not what is being built, and quality assurance of materials and people is seriously lacking.

“I have been shocked by some of the practices I have heard about and I am convinced of the need for a new intelligent system of regulation and enforcement for high-rise and complex buildings which will encourage everyone to do the right thing and will hold to account those who try to cut corners.”

A summit involving government and representatives from the building industry will take place in the New Year and a final report will be published in spring 2018.

To read the full interim report click here.

Responding to the review, communities secretary Sajid Javid said the Government would start work immediately restructuring guidance and tightening restrictions on the use of desktop studies.

“On desktop studies, we will revise the Approved Documents on Fire Safety and commission work to produce a new British Standard on when and how such assessments can be used.

“On guidance, we will work quickly with industry experts to complete work on clarifying the Approved Documents on Fire Safety.”

He added: “More widely, we will consider how the entire suite of guidance on compliance with Building Regulations can be restructured and reordered to make it more user-friendly.

“We will work with experts across the sector to explore how this can be done.”




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