A personal view from Dame Judith Hackitt
Foreword and Executive Summary
At the heart of this report are the principles for a new regulatory framework which will drive real culture change and the right behaviours. We need to adopt a very different approach to the regulatory framework covering the design, construction and maintenance of high-rise residential buildings which recognises that they are complex systems where the actions of many different people can compromise the integrity of that system.
The principle of risk being owned and managed by those who create it was enshrined in UK health and safety law in the 1970s, following the review conducted by Lord Robens, and its effectiveness is clear and demonstrable.
The principles of health and safety law do not just apply to those who are engaged in work but also to those who are placed at risk by work activities, including members of the public. It should be clear to anyone that this principle should extend to the safety of those who live in and use the ‘products’ of the construction industry, such as a multi-occupancy building, where the risk of fire exposes residents to danger.
A decision was taken back in 1975 to specifically exclude consumer safety and building safety from the Health and Safety Executive’s (HSE) remit. However, since then, HSE’s remit has increasingly extended into certain key areas – e.g. domestic gas safety.
This review concludes that there is a strong case for the full effect of the key principle of risk ownership and management to be applied alongside building regulations. This report recommends a very clear model of risk ownership, with clear responsibilities for the Client, Designer, Contractor and Owner to demonstrate the delivery and maintenance of safe buildings, overseen and held to account by a new Joint Competent Authority (JCA).