In the aftermath of the Grenfell Tower fire the Government commissioned Dame Judith Hackitt, a former Chair of the Health and Safety Executive, to produce an Independent Review of Building Regulations and Fire Safety (the Review). Her report, Building a Safer Future, was published in May 2018. The Review looked at the regulatory framework around the construction, maintenance and ongoing use of buildings, with a focus on high-rise residential buildings. It found that the system was ambiguous and not fit for purpose and set out 53 recommendations to establish a new regulatory framework and achieve a culture change to create and maintain safe buildings.
The Government has now published its response to the Hackitt Review. This response signals a step change from a passive system, centred around compliance with building regulations, to a proactive one where developers and building owners must take full responsibility for ensuring that residents are safe, with stronger assurance provided by a tougher regulatory framework. Giving weight to its intentions, the Government has committed to bring forward legislation that delivers this change and their implementation plan sets out how the elements of that new framework will be developed over the coming months.
RLB believes that this is a very positive response to a very bad situation. The “Golden Thread” of accountability which Dame Judith stressed in her report will be supported by legislation. Coupled with a much greater emphasis on the outcomes for residents we see this as a significant step to making a cultural change within our industry – which we support wholeheartedly.