As the long-awaited ‘Independent Review of Building Regulations and Fire Safety’ by Dame Judith Hackitt was published last week, prompting much debate amongst the media, general public and industry alike, Bureau Veritas considers the long-term repercussions of the recommendations and calls for more to be done from a technical perspective.
Andy Lowe, director of building control at Bureau Veritas, comments: “The publication of the Hackitt Review comes as we approach the first anniversary of the Grenfell Tower fire and alongside the commencement of the public inquiry into the tragedy; the scenes from which have displayed that the pain of all those affected has not dampened. For many, the Hackitt Review did not deliver what they had hoped and sparked somewhat of a public outcry due to the unexpected conclusion not to impose an outright ban on combustible cladding. Instead, the recommendations of the review focused on the need for a new regulator and a series of proposals to make high-rise flats safer to live in.
“From a building control perspective, the Hackitt Review makes interesting reading. Many of the recommendations are encouraging in ensuring a more robust approach is taken to fire safety in the construction industry in the long-term and across all stages of development, from planning and construction to the occupational phases. However, the recommendations are aimed specifically at changes to the overall system rather than relating to the specific technical aspects of a building. The aspects of cladding in particular and the technical measures used to ensure that a holistic approach to fire safety in high rise buildings is achieved, needs to be addressed sooner rather than later. Key aspects such as the use of non-combustible cladding, sprinkler protection and the provision of two staircases for example, are of critical importance in achieving much-needed public confidence, as well as the need to address the existing building stock situation.
“It is reassuring then that since the publication of the review, the Government has announced that it is considering going further than the recommendations put by Dame Judith Hackitt and will indeed look to ban the use of combustible materials in cladding on high-rise buildings. Based on the near universal response to the review, this would surely be met with overwhelming support and we are eager to see how the situation evolves in the coming weeks and months.”
Bureau Veritas is a leading testing, inspection and certification company with a vast experience of the building control sector. Bureau Veritas Building Control UK combines technical expertise and market-leading systems with unrivalled industry experience to deliver building control services to some of the biggest names in construction. Through effective teamwork, a consistent approach and commitment to excellence, Bureau Veritas’ solutions go beyond just compliance – they can help to reduce costs and manage risk throughout the building lifecycle, from design stages through to site inspections and final certification – whilst giving designers confidence that the project will comply with Building Regulations and all relevant legislation.
For further information, call 0345 600 1828 or visit www.bureauveritas.co.uk