The Building Engineering Services Association (BESA) has welcomed the commissioning of Dame Judith Hackitt, chair of the Engineering Employers Federation (EEF), to lead an independent review of building regulations.
The Government announcement came on Friday as part of the continuing response to the Grenfell Tower tragedy.
BESA is encouraged by the broader focus of this review, looking at current building regulations and fire safety with a particular focus on tall buildings, compliance and enforcement, and international regulations.
Recent events have once again highlighted that existing building regulations are not fit for purpose, and calls have grown for an urgent review that is long overdue. Part B of building regulations, which includes fire and safety, and Part L, which includes energy efficiency, represent one of the key systemic failures in the construction industry, and will now hopefully become a priority for reform.
The review will examine:
- the regulatory system around the design, construction and on-going management of buildings in relation to fire safety;
- related compliance and enforcement issues;
- international regulation and experience in this area.
Dame Judith Hackitt commented: “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.”
Having previously called on the DCLG to make sure the review included the opinions of experts from right across the construction sector, and particularly from building engineering, Tim Rook, BESA’s technical director, added: “Dame Judith’s appointment is significant, demonstrating that the government appreciates the importance of engineering expertise when undertaking a review of this nature. As an active fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering, and with her track record at the Health and Safety Executive, BESA is encouraged by the appointment and looks forward to supporting the review as it gets underway.“
It is expected that the review will present an interim report before the end of the year, and that the final report and recommendation to the Government will be completed no later than spring 2018. The Government has assured that it will “act swiftly on any recommendations from this review to make sure people living in high rise buildings are safe.”
Dame Judith Hackitt’s review will report to both the communities secretary,Sajid Javid, and to home secretary Amber Rudd.