The new approach to building safety must start with greater adherence to minimum standards, according to government adviser Dame Judith Hackitt.
Dame Judith, chair of the Independent Review of Building Regulations and Fire Safety, was speaking at day one of the virtually held ‘The Construction Leaders’ Summit: The Digital Future’ run by building specification group NBS.
She delivered a keynote speech on forthcoming sector regulation and directly addressed the draft building safety bill.
She said: “The essence of the change that is needed is to stop looking at the letter of the law and finding ways to comply with minimum standards. The new approach to building safety must be about the opportunity to deliver buildings which we would all be happy to have our loved ones live in – confident that they feel safe and are safe. There is a moral imperative above the legal one.”
She outlined what would happen after the bill passes into law, specifically the implementation period before the regulator is up and running, not expected to be fully operational until 2023.
Others speaking at the event included Phil Bernstein, associate dean and Professor Adjunct, Yale School of Architecture, who said: “The myriad challenges of building today, be they climate change, health and safety writ large, construction performance, or modern slavery, can only be addressed by refactoring the processes of design, construction and operation. After more than a decade of BIM, the broad outline of technology’s role in necessary innovation are only now coming into view. How should the industry respond?”
Nadhim Zahawi MP, the UK Government’s Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State (Business and Industry) and construction minister, discussed the government's objectives for construction and outlined its commitment to the sector - from decarbonisation and building safety to digital technologies and modular construction.
The online event continues this week.