Construction Industry Council responds to Hackitt reforms

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The Construction Industry Council (CIC) has published its response to Dame Judith Hackitt’s ‘Building a Safer Future’ report, commissioned by government following the Grenfell Tower fire

The CIC’s response seeks to address the ambition of ‘Building a Safer Future’ for changes to the regulatory, compliance and enforcement provisions for the construction sector.

Its members agree there is an urgent need to rebuild public confidence in building safety, reassure investors and ensure the continued support of underwriters for the UK construction industry.

The report states: ‘Our members also agree that the reforms which are needed must deliver all aspects of life safety in buildings and thus be wider than those specifically recommended in Building a Safer Future, as Dame Judith herself advocates.

‘It is also our view that the necessary change in industry culture will only be successful if that change is driven through at all levels and scales of work. The public sector as a major client has a key role to play in driving and supporting cultural change.’

This response also seeks to offer a development of Dame Judith’s initial ideas for a Joint Competent Authority (JCA) and her recommendations relating to the governance of building regulations and associated guidance, as well as changes to the current building control system and profession.

Whilst the response from CIC showcases widespread support on the need for reform, not all members agreed on the different mechanisms to achieve this.

The report states: ‘The Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) would prefer to see a more prescriptive approach and argues that clear baseline standards would provide better protection for the public, such as installation of sprinklers and a ban on combustible materials in external cladding on high rise and other higher risk buildings. Others point to the widespread use of ACM cladding in spite of it apparently not satisfying requirement B4 of the Building Regulations as evidence that prescription is not the answer. An approach based on outcomes leaves more scope for innovation, for example, in offsite manufacture.’

‘The CIC view is that the services of both approved inspectors and local authority building control (to be renamed Building Standards under proposals by Dame Judith) will be necessary to deliver the improvement in building safety that is required.

‘Local authority building standards officers would enforce compliance and approved inspectors should be part of the regulatory regime verifying and enforcing compliance so long as they are working for the JCA. The new regulatory system should avoid all conflicts of interest, including local authority building control departments having a regulatory role in relation to the buildings owned by that local authority,’ CIC’s response says.

The full response can be viewed here.

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