• International Workplace
  • 15 August 2017

Independent review of building regulations and fire safety announced

An independent review of building regulations and fire safety has been announced by the Government, following the tragic fire at Grenfell Tower, which raised serious questions about fire safety. Subsequent government testing has made it clear that a greater understanding is required as to how current building regulations and fire safety works in order to make them as effective as possible in the future.

This forward-looking independent review, to be led by Dame Judith Hackitt, Chair of EEF, the Manufacturers’ Organisation, will look at current building regulations and fire safety. It will report jointly to the Communities Secretary, Sajid Javid, and the Home Secretary, Amber Rudd.

It will examine:

  • the regulatory system around the design, construction and ongoing management of buildings in relation to fire safety;
  • related compliance and enforcement issues; and
  • international regulation and experience in this area.

Communities Secretary, Sajid Javid, said:

“It’s clear we need to urgently look at building regulations and fire safety. This independent review will ensure we can swiftly make any necessary improvements. Government is determined to make sure that we learn the lessons from the Grenfell Tower fire, and to ensure nothing like it can happen again.”

As part of the review, Dame Judith will consult the Buildings Regulations Advisory Committee – which advises the Government on changes to building regulations – as well as the construction and housing industry, the fire sector, international experts, MPs and the public.

The review will also work closely with other government departments and the devolved administrations and consider the implications of changes to the regulatory system on other government objectives.

Review Chair, Dame Judith Hackitt, said:

“I am honoured to be asked by government to lead this important independent review. This review will look at building regulations and fire safety to see what changes can be made for the future to make these more effective.

“I am keen to engage widely with industry and the public to inform the recommendations from the review. I want the recommendations to lead to any necessary improvements in the system being made.”

Terms of reference for this independent review will be published in summer 2017, once the terms of reference for the Grenfell Tower Public Inquiry have been agreed.

It is expected that the review will present an interim report before the end of the year, and a final report no later than spring 2018. The Government will act swiftly on any recommendations from this review.

The Institution of Occupational Safety and Health (IOSH) has welcomed the review.

Richard Jones, Head of Policy and Public Affairs at IOSH, said:

“This is an important step towards ensuring that the adequacy, implementation and enforcement of relevant fire, health and safety and building regulations is reviewed and that international lessons are learned.

“These are all key areas that IOSH called for in our submission to the Grenfell Tower Inquiry Team and we are pleased to see that government action is being taken.”

Last week it was announced that, following the Grenfell Tower fire, 111 buildings had failed fire safety and building regulation guidance due to the external cladding used on them. The cladding system consists of Aluminium Composite Material (ACM) cladding with a polyethylene filler (category 3) with stone wool insulation.