Hackitt slams industry’s ‘wait and see’ stance on building safety

Aaron Morby 2 months ago
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Dame Judith Hackitt has blasted the industry’s professional bodies for failing to rise to the moral obligation of improving safety ahead of planned tough new building laws in the wake of the Grenfell disaster.

Over the next year Dame Judith Hackitt aims to recognise and accredit those organisations that are stepping up to deliver improved practices
Over the next year Dame Judith Hackitt aims to recognise and accredit those organisations that are stepping up to deliver improved practices

To mark the publication of her Industry Safety Steering Group’s (ISSG) second report, Dame Judith warned that she feared the expected economic downturn due to Covid-19 could result in corners being cut once more and commercial pressures being used as the excuse for further poor practice and delay.

She said: “In the last year it has become clear that some parts of the industry are making real progress but it has been equally frustrating for me and my colleagues on ISSG to keep hearing that others are waiting to see what the new regulatory regime looks like before they take action.

“Given the clear evidence that continues to emerge of concerns about high rise building safety which go beyond ACM cladding, we believe that there is a moral obligation on the industry to step up to a different approach.”

Dame Judith revealed that the steering group, which was initially only set up for two years, would continue to operate until the new legislation on building safety is in place and the Building Safety Regulator is up and running.

Her report states: “In 2018, I called for professional bodies to demonstrate and deliver leadership that drives a shift in culture.

“The ISSG has continued that call but sadly, our urgent calls for proactive, collaborative leadership does not yet appear to have been heeded.

“While some headway has been made there remains a lack of urgency and a feeling that organisations are already doing their bit, which in the ISSG’s view, doesn’t currently go far enough.”

Dame Judith said certain parts of the industry were rising to the challenge including the Construction Leadership Council which had set out goals to improve building safety in its roadmap for recovery from the Covid-19 crisis.

She also highlighted the positive leadership efforts of Mace, Willmott Dixon, Vistry Partnerships, RICS and the Considerate Constructors Scheme.

“We will continue to challenge the industry on the pace and progress of culture change. This will include highlighting best practice and those organisations that are pushing ahead with the necessary changes ahead of legislation and helping others in the system to do so too,” she pledged.

Link to latest ISSG report.

 

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