Update: Hackitt review and Government response
The Government has published a response to the recommendations made in Dame Judith Hackitt’s independent review of Building Regulations and Fire Safety, following the Grenfell Tower fire. Hackitt’s review, published in May 2018, was commissioned by the Government to review construction industry practices and uncover what went wrong. After a year’s worth of research, she published her findings, which included 51 recommendations for the Government to take forward.
The latest document published by the Government outlines the next steps that will be taken to address and respond to Hackitt’s individual recommendations and an update on what has happened since publication of the review.
Hackitt has recommended a complete rewrite of Building Regulations
The Government response states that an announcement will be made in the autumn about the future shape of Building Regulations. Tweaks have already been made to Part B, which deals with fire safety, and this will be the priority to rewrite ready to release properly next year. A consultation on an updated Part L is set to be released this winter, but there is no word yet whether all Approved Documents are going to be ripped up and started again from scratch.
Focus on Higher Risk Residential Buildings (HRRBs)
In line with Hackitt’s recommendations, the new Building Regulations (especially Part B) are expected to include additional, more stringent requirements for Higher Risk Residential Buildings (HRRBs) – any building larger than 10 storeys. The Government wants to take some of Hackitt’s recommendations for HRRBs and apply this across all developments.
Dutyholders will take responsibility for almost everything
After the Grenfell Tower fire, it was clear there was no easy way of tracing accountability for what went wrong. In her review, Hackitt recommended every HRRB should have a dutyholder and it would be their responsibility to ensure the building, and its residents, are safe. The Government has started to use the term dutyholder but there is currently no definition. However, the Government are not keen on the idea of setting out legal requirements for dutyholders as there are already laws in place that building owners should comply with.
Establish the Joint Competent Authority
Hackitt recommended the creation of a Joint Competent Authority (JCA), which will merge the LABC (Building Control) with the local fire authority and the Health and Safety Executive. This means more visits on building sites and more scrutiny on how things are being built. It has been confirmed that work is underway to create the JCA for high-rise developments.
What hasn’t been announced yet?
The Government was very quick to accept the Hackitt review and confirmed they will take all recommendations into consideration, which is already evident from the responses made in this latest update. Some of the other recommendations made in the review that are still being considered include:
- Ensuring final sign off for buildings is given by somebody who is completely independent from the development.
- Relax some of the targets in Building Regulations and let the industry lead the way.
We will continue to publish updates as new information is released, including any news on the Part L consultation, set for release this winter.