Following the fire at Grenfell Tower, a number of recommendations concerning building regulations and fire safety were made by Dame Judith Hackitt in her review Building a Safer Future.
Shortly before Christmas, the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities & Local Government, James Brokenshire set out how the Government intends to implement those recommendations.
Available from assets.publishing.service.gov.uk, Building a Safer Future: an Implementation Plan gives details of a work programme aimed at delivering fundamental reforms to ensure that people living in high-rise residential buildings are safe in their homes.
Four main areas of work are identified, which can be briefly summarised below.
Creating a stronger and more effective regulatory and accountability framework for relevant buildings.
Facilitating better understanding of what is required to ensure that buildings are safe.
Encouraging greater engagement between residents and those managing their buildings.
Working with the construction industry to promote greater responsibility for building safety — including by improving the competence of those undertaking building work.
Responding to the Secretary of State’s paper, Peter Caplehorn of the Construction Products Association (CPA) predicted that the plan will lead the culture change to create a more effective regulatory framework.
The CPA believes there is a pressing need to address current issues around unclear regulations, roles and responsibilities, inadequate product quality, weak compliance and sanctions, he said, as well as how the industry engages with users and residents of buildings.
There is still a lack of transparency around how information about the performance of construction products is made available, Mr Caplehorn added, which is why the CPA has established a cross-industry group to spearhead a Code of Practice for the provision of product information and how it is marketed.
Noting that co-operation between the CPA and Government will continue, he described the Hackitt implementation plan as being key to the UK construction industry, developing a more comprehensive approach towards competence by putting the right people at the heart of decision-making for building safety.
Last reviewed 16 January 2019