Grenfell – Independent Review of Building Regulations and Fire Safety: Final Report 5

Grenfell – Independent Review of Building Regulations and Fire Safety: Final Report 5

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).

LINK TO DOCUMENT HERE

 

Comment ( 1 )

  • The joint competent authority (JCA) would comprise the combined expertise and knowledge of Local Authority Building Standards and fire and rescue authorities (FRAs) and Health and Safety Executive (HSE) … the bodies would not be merged but those organisations would provide them with a framework to work from to “more rigorously assess building safety and would create a more unified and consistent intervention process” …

    The report states that:
    > a “clear and identifiable duty holder” with responsibility for building safety of the whole building would be appointed …
    > that person in turn must nominate a building safety manager or declare that he or she will take the role …
    > this duty holder would maintain the fire and structural safety of the whole building, and identify and make improvements where reasonable and practicable …
    > a requirement for the duty holder to present a safety case to the JCA at regular intervals to check that building safety risks are being managed “so far as is reasonably practicable” …
    > the Building Safety Manager will also act as a point of contact for residents so their name and contact information must be notified to the JCA and to residents in the building …

    Although the building owner or superior landlord MUST nominate a building safety manager, ACCOUNTABILITY REMAINS with the duty holder and “they cannot pass or delegate their accountability to the Building Safety Manager, but can delegate the responsibility for certain tasks to them” …

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