BSRIA welcomes Thursday’s Independent Review of Building Regulations and Fire Safety – ‘Building a Safer Future’, by Dame Judith Hackitt. Julia Evans, BSRIA Chief Executive, said:
“A wholesale and lasting culture change is needed in the delivery of buildings – especially around the current business model for building regulations which are supposed to ‘deliver what they are meant to deliver’ – all along the industry supply chain. One of the main report findings is ‘a lack of clarity regarding the roles and responsibilities of those procuring, designing, constructing and maintaining buildings are unclear’ and BSRIA agrees that more collaboration is needed for delivery as it is intended.
Indeed BSRIA works endlessly in this respect with its Soft Landings programme – a building delivery process which runs through the project, from inception to completion and beyond.
Dame Judith said that ‘the regulatory system will ensure that anyone who tries to make shortcuts will be stopped before such buildings are designed and commissioned for people to live in’ which BSRIA sees as crucial. I hope the recommendations are taken up in full with the called for ‘joined-up implementation plan’ and that the race to the bottom as Dame Judith put it, is halted.
How building regulations are implemented is BSRIA’s key area of concern. A robust method of ensuring buildings are built to the intended standard is something BSRIA is calling for. In fact – the web of regulations – the standards themselves, the framework and implementation – needs unpicking. Independent verification of the performance of components and buildings is necessary.
As an industry – we need to drive change in how we operate. We have a collective responsibility to create wellbeing. When lives are at stake, especially, vulnerable ones, there can be no ambiguity.”
- Indifference – the primary motivation is to do things as quickly and cheaply as possible rather than to deliver quality homes which are safe for people to live in.
- The voice of residents often goes unheard, even when safety issues are identified.
- There is a lack of clarity regarding the roles and responsibilities of those procuring, designing, constructing and maintaining buildings are unclear.
- The package of regulations and guidance (in the form of Approved Documents) can be ambiguous and inconsistent.
- There is inadequate regulatory oversight and enforcement tools.
- Competence across the system is patchy.
Dame Judith sets out that a new regulatory framework should be established and focused on multi-occupancy, higher-risk residential buildings (HRRBs) that are 10 storeys or more in height.
And that the new regulatory framework will be overseen by a new Joint Competent Authority (JCA), which will comprise Local Authority Building Standards, fire and rescue authorities and the Health and Safety Executive.
The report entitled ‘Building a Safer Future’ and has been presented to Parliament by the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government.