The House of Commons MHCLG Committee has taken evidence from Dame Judith Hackitt and Housing Minister Kit Malthouse on the Independent Review of Building Regulations and Fire Safety
In the session, Dame Judith accepted that independent Approved Inspectors (AIs) would have an important role to play in a future system of building regulations, confirming that AIs currently adhere to higher competency standards than their local authority counterparts.
Dame Judith said: “They do have a point when they say that their levels of competence are higher than those of local authority building control.”
However, she rejected claims from the ACAI that independent Approved Inspectors would have a reduced role in signing off high rise buildings under her proposals, claiming that they would probably have “more work” after their implementation.
Responding to the committee session, ACAI Chairman Paul Wilkins said: “We are pleased to see Dame Judith recognise the high level of competence that exists in the private sector.
“What concerns us is that her Review – which the Government has accepted in full – fails to provide a solution which will effectively make the most of the competence and standards which she praises.
“While she claims that AIs will have ‘more work’, it is not clear how this will play out in practice nor is it obvious how local authorities will be able to manage the additional workload.
“Fundamentally, piling more responsibility onto underfunded, overstretched, short-staffed and under-qualified local authorities will not lead to safer buildings.
“We urge ministers to review its decision to hand sole oversight of inspections on high rise buildings to local authorities if we are to avoid another Grenfell-style tragedy.”