Government publishes terms of reference for building regulations and fire safety review

The government has published the terms of reference for the independent review of building regulations and fire safety that was commissioned following the Grenfell Tower fire tragedy.

The review will urgently assess the effectiveness of current building and fire safety regulations and related compliance and enforcement issues, with a focus on multi-occupancy high rise residential buildings. This will include addressing whether the government’s large-scale cladding system testing programme identified any potential systemic failures.

The review’s two key priorities are to develop a more robust regulatory system for the future and provide further assurance to residents that the buildings they live in are safe and remain safe. While the review will cover the regulatory system for all buildings, it will have a specific focus on multi-occupancy high-rise residential buildings.

Dame Judith Hackitt, a qualified engineer with a strong regulatory background, is leading the review and will draw on the experience of local government, industry, the fire sector, international experts and MPs. She will also engage with residents of multi-occupancy residential buildings.

The review will report jointly to the communities secretary Sajid Javid and home secretary Amber Rudd. An interim report will be submitted in autumn 2017 with a final report submitted in spring 2018. The review will co-operate fully with the ongoing public inquiry, and Dame Judith Hackitt will review her recommendations in the light of the findings of the inquiry.

The review will:

  • Map the current regulatory system (i.e. the regulations, guidance and processes) as it applies to new and existing buildings through planning, design, construction, maintenance, refurbishment and change management;
  • Consider the competencies, duties and balance of responsibilities of key individuals within the system in ensuring that fire safety standards are adhered to;
  • Assess the theoretical coherence of the current regulatory system and how it operates in practice
  • Compare this with other international regulatory systems for buildings and regulatory systems in other sectors with similar safety risks;
  • Make recommendations that ensure the regulatory system is fit for purpose with a particular focus on multi-occupancy high-rise residential buildings.

Communities secretary Sajid Javid said: “We must learn the lessons of the Grenfell Tower tragedy and ensure that a fire like this cannot happen again. Following the fire, I commissioned a series of large-scale tests, which have raised the question of whether there have been potential systemic failures within the building regulatory and fire safety system.

“This independent review led by Dame Judith Hackitt will address any potential failures and recommend how we ensure the whole building regulations and fire safety system is robust. I am determined that we do everything possible to make people safe and to ensure that they feel safe.”

Review chair, Dame Judith Hackitt, said: “I look forward to working with experts from across different sectors to take an urgent, fresh and comprehensive examination of the regulatory system and related compliance and enforcement issues. It’s right that we consider the whole system together and ensure that everything possible is done to improve the safety of buildings. I will also be speaking to residents of multi occupancy residential buildings who must have a voice about these important issues that affect their safety.”

Click here to read the terms of reference for the independent review.

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