Independent review of the building regulations and fire safety
On 28 July 2017, following the Grenfell Tower fire, Communities Secretary The Rt Hon Sajid Javid MP announced an independent review of the building regulations and fire safety.
The announcement came as the first results of large-scale tests of building cladding systems was published, revealing that a system comprising an aluminium composite material (ACM cladding) with unmodified polyethylene filler (Cat 3) and foam insulation, had failed the test set out in building regulations guidance. This confirmed suspicions that the building regulations may not be effective.
The independent review will be led by Dame Judith Hackitt, Chair of EEF, the Manufacturers’ Organisation (formerly the Engineering Employers' Federation) and will report jointly to Sajid Javid and the Home Secretary Amber Rudd.
Dame Judith was Chair of the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) from October 2007 to March 2016 and previously served as a health and safety Commissioner between 2002 and 2005. She was made a Dame in 2016 for services to health and safety and engineering and was awarded a CBE in 2006.
- The regulatory system around design, construction and on-going management in relation to fire safety.
- Compliance and enforcement issues.
- International regulation and experience in this area.
Dame Judith will consult the Buildings Regulations Advisory Committee, the construction and housing industry, the fire sector, international experts, MPs and the public, and will work closely with government departments and the devolved administrations. Terms of reference will be published in the summer, once the terms of reference for the Grenfell Tower Inquiry have been agreed.
Dame Judith said; “This review will look at building regulations and fire safety to see what changes can be made for the future to make these more effective. I am keen to engage widely with industry and the public to inform the recommendations from the review. I want the recommendations to lead to any necessary improvements in the system being made.”
Sajid Javid said; “This independent review will ensure we can swiftly make any necessary improvements. Government is determined to make sure that we learn the lessons from the Grenfell Tower fire, and to ensure nothing like it can happen again.”
It is expected that the review will present an interim report before the end of the year, and a final report no later than spring 2018. The Review will co-operate fully with the Public Inquiry, and Dame Judith Hackitt will review her recommendations in the light of the findings of the Inquiry.
On 30th August 2017, the government published the terms of reference for the Review.
The two key priorities of the review are to develop a more robust regulatory system and provide further assurance to current residents that buildings are safe.
In reaching its conclusions, the Review will include the following:
- Map of the regulations, guidance and processes in their application to new and existing buildings (i.e. planning, design, construction, maintenance, refurbishment, and so on).
- Consideration of the key individuals and their competencies, duties and balance of responsibilities in ensuring adherence with fire safety standards.
- The current regulatory system - its theoretical coherence and practical operation.
- Comparison with international regulatory systems.
- Recommendations that ensure fitness for purpose of the regulatory system.
 Related articles on Designing Buildings Wiki
- ACM cladding testing by BRE.
- ACM cladding.
- Approved documents.
- BS 8414 Fire performance of external cladding systems.
- BS 9991:2015 Fire safety in the design, management and use of residential buildings. Code of practice.
- BS 9999: Code of practice for fire safety in the design, management and use of buildings.
- Building regulations.
- Celotex insulation.
- Fire performance of external thermal insulation for walls of multistorey buildings, third edition (BR 135).
- Grenfell Tower articles.
- Grenfell Tower Fire.
- Grenfell Tower independent expert advisory panel
- Grenfell Tower industry response group.
- Grenfell Tower Inquiry.
- Grenfell Tower working group.
- ICE Grenfell Tower review.
- Lakanal House fire.
- Rainscreen cladding.
- Ronan Point.
- The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005.
- Torre Windsor office building fire.
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