With a fortnight now to digest the full 159 pages of the Hackitt review, we have prepared a more detailed summary. For constructon and fire safety, this is is without doubt the most significant document that has been published in a generation, it was described in his response by the Minister for Housing, Communities and Local Government, Rt Hon James Brockenshire MP, as "a watershed for everyone who has a stake in ensuring that the people living in buildings like Grenfell Tower are safe – and feel safe." and I for one hope this is not an underestimate of its import.
In our summary we have attempted to draw out the key points and start to gather some of our thinking on the direction of travel and what the changes proposed will mean to our membership. There is without doubt some very clear thinking in the review, it recognises the need to focus on a buildings lifecycle and the need to focus on regulation, culture and enforcement. Encouragingly third party certification is very much part of the proposed solution, but it is rightly not seen as the be all and end all and the review calls for close scrutiny of the processes within certification. Vitally the review recognises that the current spaghetti of overlapping regulation does not help us to construct safe buildings and it points to a similar issue created by the contractual nature of construction, that oftentimes does not create the right collaborative environment. It also starts to lean in to definitions of competence and to define a "Golden Thread" of responsibility.
Much what we put in our initial response is reflected in this report. Whilst there are some areas that we would prefer to see greater clarity, at times the report had me off of my feet cheering.
It is important to remember that this is now simply a set of recommendations and it is not the end. Vital now that we work with the civil servants and our political masters to ensure that the core findings are not ignored and a practical and effective regulatory and enforcement environment is created. The political engagement has already started and we have already met with Clive Betts MP, chair of the Housing Communities and Local Government Committee and are in dialogue with key civil servants to discuss the implications and how we should proceed. The full formal response from Government is expected in the Autumn, but consultations on specific recommendatons are already filtering through (e.g. BWF prepared the response on behalf of the Passive Fire Protection Forum on to the recent consultation on the restriction of assessments in lieu of fire tests - see response here)
To read the full summary, click here.
As we formalise our response, we'd be very grateful for members input and comment - this is a once in a generation opportunity to change the built enviromnent regulatory framework and construction processes for the better and we should absolutely grab it with both hands. Please direct your comments to firstname.lastname@example.org over the next couple of weeks so that we can build your views into our response and ensure that we are bringing clear and consistent messages to the civil servants and MPs we are meeting.