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Dame Judith Hackitt has been tasked with investigating the tragic events of Grenfell. Whilst we await final publications, by sitting on various committees I get to hear the latest news and how this is all developing, so it’s worth sharing some of this with you as to how industry experts are thinking.

Better communication amongst industry sectors (such as architects, building control, construction, fire protection installers and risk assessors) is of paramount importance- ‘the golden threat’. Working groups have now been set up and this is a great starting point. 

The Construction industry will be heavily scrutinized. Approved inspectors- independent of builders must only be used. ‘The race to the bottom’ mentality needs to change. Redrafting Approved Document B (building regulations). Buildings must be passed off with exacting certification and documentation right from the outset and prior to occupation of new and significantly refurbished buildings. 

Introducing a foundation course in the basics of fire safety to contractors and even duty holders seems a likely step to take.

Most importantly, 3rd party accreditation a must! For fire risk assessors, there maybe a tiered system whereby assessing high risk residential (buildings over 18 metres)/ care homes, assessors will need to be qualified to the highest level.

Non combustible materials mandatory in high rise buildings. 
Scotland seem intent on ensuring public buildings north of the border are as safe as they possibly can be with mandatory levels of detection and sound alert systems along with sprinklers installed. 

More information by Dame Judith Hackitt and her report, ‘Building a Safer Future‘, is easily found online. Dame Judith created six working groups to reflect six areas identified in her earlier, interim, report.

  1. The design, construction and refurbishment group is establishing what industry and regulators need to do to make sure building safety is embedded during the design and construction phase.
  2. The occupation and maintenance group is recommending how building owners, landlords and regulators can ensure that a building is always safe throughout its life cycle.
  3. The products group is determining how product testing and marketing can be improved.
  4. The competency group is establishing how competency should be assessed for people involved in building and managing complex and high risk buildings.
  5. The residents’ voice group is looking at how residents can be given a clear, quick and effective statutory route for raising concerns on fire safety.
  6. The regulation and guidance group is assessing whether central government should be in charge of technical guidance for complex and high risk buildings