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Recommendations from the Independent Review of Building Regulations and Fire Safety

Objectives of the consultation

The Independent Review of Building Regulations and Fire Safety was led by Dame Judith Hackitt. Its purpose was to make recommendations that will ensure we have a sufficiently robust regulatory system for the future and to provide further assurance to residents that the complete system is working to ensure the buildings they live in are safe and remain so. It examined building and fire safety regulations and related compliance and enforcement. The review focused on multi occupancy high rise residential buildings.

The Final Report of the Independent Review was published in May 2018. The report identified key issues underpinning the system failure and set out more than 50 recommendations for government on how to deliver a more robust regulatory system.

The main recommendations of the report include:

  • A new regulatory framework for multi-occupancy higher-risk residential buildings (HRRBs) that are 10 storeys or more in height.
  • A new Joint Competent Authority (JCA) comprising Local Authority Building Standards, fire and rescue authorities and the Health and Safety Executive to oversee better management of safety risks in these buildings across their entire life cycle.
  • A mandatory incident reporting mechanism.
  • New dutyholder roles and responsibilities aligned with the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2015.
  • A series of robust gateway points to strengthen regulatory oversight.
  • Stronger change control processes.
  • A single, more streamlined, regulatory route to oversee building standards. Oversight of HRRBs will only be provided through Local Authority Building Standards as part of the JCA, with Approved Inspectors available to expand local authority capacity/expertise or to provide accredited verification and consultancy services to dutyholders.
  • More rigorous enforcement powers.
  • A clear and identifiable dutyholder with responsibility for building safety.
  • Delivering building safety as a system rather than by considering a series of competing or isolated objectives.
  • A more effective testing regime with clearer labelling and product traceability.
  • Obligating the creation of a digital record for new HRRBs from initial design intent through to construction and including any changes that occur throughout occupation.

Following the publication of Dame Judith Hackitt’s Final Report, the Government sought views on how these recommendations should be taken forwards. The consultation concluded on 31 July 2018.

Supporting papers

To download the Final Report, please follow the link below.

CIBSE response

CIBSE supports the overall conclusion of the Review in calling for wide ranging reforms to the system of building regulation in England and the management of higher risk residential buildings during their whole operating life. This is a once in a generation call for fundamental change in the way that we regulate the construction and operation of buildings to deliver safe environments, which seeks to address many of the flaws that our membership have grappled with for many years.

Whilst recognising that Dame Judith’s Terms of Reference directed her to address high rise residential buildings, we wholeheartedly support her repeated observation that many of her recommendations should be applied more widely. The Institution supports her call for complex buildings to be recognised as systems, and for a systems engineering approach to be adopted in relation to managing their design, delivery and operation, as well as ongoing maintenance and refurbishment.

CIBSE was actively involved in the development of the Construction Industry Council response to the Independent Review, and fully endorse that response.

To read the full CIBSE and CIC responses, please follow the links below.

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