05 February 2018 | FM WORLD TEAM
A new group is to be established to ensure
that safety is prioritised
when a building is occupied.
An occupation and maintenance working group is to be established to identify what owners, landlords and regulators need to do differently to ensure that safety is prioritised when a building is occupied and throughout its life cycle.
That is one measure proposed by the safety review set up in the wake of the Grenfell Tower fire.
This suggested working group is one of six to be established to develop solutions in related areas.
The proposals were introduced at a summit hosted by Dame Judith Hackitt to inform the next phase of the Independent Review into Building Regulations and Fire Safety, commissioned in July 2017 following the fire.
At the summit, attended by around 50 senior industry figures, "committed to work aimed at creating a new system that will work effectively and coherently" it was resolved that working groups would be established to develop solutions in six key areas (see box, below).
Dame Judith said: "I have been greatly encouraged by the wide ranging support which my interim report received. I can now say with confidence that there is widespread agreement that the current system of regulation for high-rise and complex buildings is broken and that we need a radical overhaul and a change in culture.
She commented on the "positive tone at the summit" and the recognition of the common challenge. "We now need to agree both the 'what' and the 'how' of delivering the transformational change which is needed. Today we have invited people from a wide range of organisations to join with us not just in agreeing the way forward but in making it happen."
A government spokesperson said the groups will try to develop innovative solutions and called on organisations and experts wishing to contribute to the next phase of the review to contact the independent review directly.
In attendance was Roy Wilson, chair of the National Fire Chiefs Council. He said: "The way Dame Judith and the team got to the real bottom of the problems and the way forward - I don't think there's much disagreement over the way forward now."
Suzannah Nichol, CEO at Build UK, said: "People are looking for clarity and consistency about what good looks like. Then we're applying consistent standards across the whole industry and people know their buildings are safe
to live in, to occupy and to sleep in."
Six suggested working groups
Design, construction and refurbishment- establishing what industry and regulators need to do to fully embed building safety during the design and construction phase.
Occupation and maintenance- identifying what building owners, landlords and regulators need to do differently to make sure that building safety is prioritised once a building is occupied and throughout its life cycle.
Products- determining how the product testing and marketing regime can be improved.
Competency- establishing how competency requirements for key individuals involved in building and managing complex and high-risk buildings should change.
Residents' voice- determining the best way for residents to be given a clear, quick and effective statutory route for raising concerns on fire safety.
Regulation and guidance- resolving whether central government ownership of technical guidance is the most appropriate model for complex and high-risk buildings.