Seeking Responses on Building Regulations and Fire Safety

Seeking Responses on Building Regulations and Fire Safety

27th September 2017

In the aftermath of the tragedy at Grenfell Tower, the UK government has scrambled to ensure that a substantial programme of work is adopted to ensure that anybody living in high rise buildings are safe from the risk of fire in future.  It’s identifying high rise buildings with unsafe cladding systems and making sure that the building owners are taking the necessary steps to make them safe.  The tragedy at Grenfell and the subsequent testing process have identified potential shortcomings in the current regulatory systems for ensuring fire safety and the government has commissioned an independent review of Building Regulations and Fire Safety led by Dame Judith Hacket.

The independent review is on the lookout for opinions on the current regulations and is calling for evidence of anything that could impact on the lifecycle of a building and fire safety.  It’s particularly interested in hearing the views of respondents on aspect of the current system which work well and those which need to be reformed.  This is an opportunity for everybody in construction to have their say and make their views known on these subject.

The main areas of the system are as follows:

·         Legal Requirements – the specific requirements which legislation and guidance that should be met to ensure fire safety at every key stage in the life cycle of a buildings.  This includes planning, design, procurement and construction of new buildings and the remodelling/refurbishment of existing buildings, along with the on-going management and maintenance of all buildings.

·         Roles and Responsibilities – which means the roles and responsibilities of organisations/individuals at every key stage of the process above to either ensure that all relevant requirements have been met or to formally assess that this is the case.

·         Compliance Processes – these are the formal processes that organisations/individuals with specific responsibilities need to complete in order to prove compliance and the culture surrounding compliance.

·         Competency – the requirements placed on everybody with those responsibilities to ensure or formally assess compliance (such as the technical qualifications, skills, CPD/re-accreditation requirements).

·         Enforcement and Sanctions – this is the enforcement and sanctions regime and culture that applies in instances where the building/fire safety requirements are discovered not to have been complied with.

·         Quality Assurance – this is the broader processes where specific products used in the building, remodelling, refurbishment and maintenance of buildings are certified as meeting specific safety standards.

The specific focus of the Review is on the regulatory system in as much as it applies to multi-occupancy, high rise residential buildings.  However, the HSE makes it clear that respondents to the questionnaire should not just limit their answers to cover these types of buildings if they have broader points that they wish to make known.

If you’d like to participate and make your voice heard, then head on over to the government’s website and search for “Review of Building Regulations and Fire Safety.  You’ll soon find the questionnaire and instructions on how to complete it and where to send your answers.  The completed questionnaire can be returned by email or by post.