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Grenfell Tower report slams building regulations as "not fit for purpose"

A review into the Grenfell Tower fire has called for a major culture change in the building industry, with the chair of the independent report slating the regulatory safety system as “not fit for purpose”.

In leading the review, Dame Judith Hackitt has said the building industry needs a culture change if it is to rebuild trust among residents of high-rise buildings and significantly improve the way that fire safety is assured. Hackitt was appointed by the government to lead an Independent Review of Building Regulations and Fire Safety following the tragic event in June which killed 71 people. 

The report sets out six broad areas for change which include ensuring that regulation and guidance is risk-based, improving levels of competence within the industry and proper enforcement of regulations. 

Commenting on the report, Hackitt said: “I have found that the regulatory system for safely designing, constructing and managing buildings is not fit for purpose. The current system is highly complex and there is confusion about the roles and responsibilities at each stage. In many areas there is a lack of competence and accreditation. While this does not mean all buildings are unsafe, it does mean we need to build a more effective system for the future. That is why I am today calling for the construction industry, building owners, regulators and government to come together to identify how to overcome these shortcomings together.”

The interim report found that:

  • A culture change is required - with industry taking greater responsibility for what is built - this change needs to start now
  • The current system for ensuring fire safety in high-rise buildings is not fit for purpose
  • A clear, quick and effective route for residents to raise concerns and be listened to, must be created

Introducing the report, Hackitt spoke about how easy it is to take shortcuts for those who intend to do so. The chair also mentioned her shock by how some residential properties were built and maintained. The independent review will now undertake its second phase of work - including targeted work in partnership with the sector and other stakeholders. A full report is expected to follow in spring 2018, focusing on an overhaul of the regulatory system and the improvement of safety standards.