Last edited 19 Aug 2018

CIC response to Hackitt report

On 16 May 2018, Building a Safer Future, Independent Review of Building Regulations and Fire Safety: Final Report, was published, setting out more than 50 recommendations for the government about how to deliver a more robust regulatory system.

In August 2018, the Construction Industry Council (CIC) – the umbrella body for built environment professions – published CIC response to Building a Safer Future, following consultation with their 35 member bodies and 12 associates.

CIC's response proposes the creation of a Building Standards Agency (building on the initial ideas in the Hackitt report for a Joint Competent Authority) which would be tasked with oversight of both construction and building management, ensuring buildings are safe throughout their life.

There was agreement among the CIC members that reforms which deliver all aspects of life safety in buildings are needed, and should be wider than those recommended in the Hackitt report. However, there was some disagreement about how those reforms should be achieved.

Hackitt’s report proposed that a prescriptive approach to determining the products and systems that should be used or banned was ‘philosophically the wrong place to start’ and that it was preferable to specify outputs (i.e. results) rather than inputs. Some CIC members agreed with this view, stating that ‘prescription is not the answer … an approach based on outcomes leaves more scope for innovation, for example, in off-site manufacture’.

Other members, such as the RIBA, expressed a preference for a more prescriptive approach, arguing that clear baseline standards would provide better public protection.

With regard to the Hackitt proposal to limit regulation compliance enforcement for higher-risk residential buildings to a restructured local authority building standards function, the CIC took the view that ‘the services of both approved inspectors and local authority building control (to be renamed Building Standards under proposals by Dame Judith) will be necessary to deliver the improvement in building safety that is required.

The CIC view is that; ‘Local authority building standards officers would enforce compliance and approved inspectors should be part of the regulatory regime verifying and enforcing compliance so long as they are working for the JCA. The new regulatory system should avoid all conflicts of interest, including local authority building control departments having a regulatory role in relation to the buildings owned by that local authority.’

You can see the full response here.

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