Government consults on Hackitt response to Grenfell Tower fire
10 June 2019 by Ellen Petersen
The Grenfell Tower public inquiry opened on 14 September 2017 and was led by retired judge Sir Martin Moore-Bick. The public inquiry’s terms of reference were published in August 2017. They include details of investigating the adequacy of Building Regulations, together with other legislation and guidance; as well as industry practice relating to high-rise residential buildings.
An independent review of building regulations and fire safety following the Grenfell Tower disaster was announced in July 2017; and was led by Dame Judith Hackitt. The independent review was separate from the public inquiry, but co-operated with it. The purpose of the review was to make recommendations that will ensure a sufficiently robust regulatory system for the future. Following publication of that review’s final report in May 2018, the government is now consulting on suggestions within the review for reform of the building safety regime for multi-occupied high-rise residential buildings of 18 metres or more in height (approximately six stories).
Key features of the independent review include:
- Creating five dutyholder roles responsible for the safety of a building and compliance with Building Regulations during design and construction (client, principal designer, principal contractor, designer and contractor), together with the concept of an “accountable person” who looks after higher risk buildings once they are occupied. The dutyholder roles align with those in the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2015 (SI 2015/51) (CDM 2015) and will be required to show that they are managing risks at new “gateway points” before they can continue with the different stages of the building process.
- Measures to empower residents by giving them the right to information as well as an avenue for raising concerns.
- The creation of a new building safety regulator to ensure compliance and building safety in England; together with a range of sanctions and enforcement powers. This includes new criminal sanctions and increasing the time a local authority has to serve enforcement notices.
The government also suggests giving private individuals the right to claim damages where they suffer harm because work on a building has not met Building Regulations standards (this would be done by bringing into force section 38 of the Building Act 1984, which is not operative to date).
The consultation ends on 31 July 2019 and runs parallel with a call for evidence on related changes to the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 (SI 2005/1541).
Source: Practical Law Company: Gov.uk, Building a safer future: proposals for reform of the building safety regulatory system (6 June 2019) and The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005: call for evidence (6 June 2019).
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