Building regulations and fire safety: consultation response and connected issues Contents

Introduction

1.Two years on from the fire at Grenfell Tower, this Committee has not forgotten the victims, the dignity of the survivors, nor the clear message that fundamental change is urgently needed in the social housing sector and construction industry. Whilst we still await the report of the first phase of the Public Inquiry, it is already clear that 72 people died at Grenfell Tower at least in part because of serious failures in this country’s building regulations and fire safety regime. It is for this reason that, over the last two years, this Committee has undertaken a substantial amount of work relating to scrutiny of the Government’s efforts to reform the building regulations and remediate buildings with dangerous cladding. This report is a continuation of that work.

2.On 6 June 2019, the Government published a consultation into its proposals for reform of the building safety regulatory system.1 This followed the publication of Building a Safer Future: An Implementation Plan, in which the Government accepted the 53 recommendations set out in the Final Report of the Independent Review of Building Regulations and Fire Safety, and set out a programme of work for how the new regulatory framework proposed by Dame Judith Hackitt would be implemented.2 The consultation sought views on the Government’s proposals for a new building and fire safety regulatory system, including: the scope of the new regulatory regime, the role of dutyholders in the system, proposals to give residents a stronger voice, regulatory structures to strengthen oversight, and a new regime of enforcement and sanctions. The deadline for responses to the Government’s consultation is 30 July 2019.

3.We have decided to make a formal response to this consultation. Whilst we have engaged extensively with Ministers in correspondence over the last 12 months (as set out in an Annex to this report), the Committee has not published a report into the building regulations since July 2018.3 We felt, therefore, that this would also be an opportunity to express our views on the Government’s wider work around building safety, including the progress of remediation of buildings known to have combustible cladding and the ongoing support for survivors of the Grenfell Tower fire.

4.Due to the need to submit our response in advance of the consultation deadline, we have prepared a more concise report than usual, focusing primarily on our conclusions and recommendations. This report has two chapters. The first chapter addresses the overall pace of change set by the Government, including progress towards the remediation of buildings with combustible cladding, and the evidence we heard from Grenfell United about the ongoing difficulties they face to get their voice heard and access the support and services they need. The second chapter provides a response to the Government’s consultation, considering the five policy areas in turn.

5.To inform our conclusions and recommendations, the Committee held a public evidence session on 8 July 2019. We are particularly grateful to Edward Daffarn, Bellal El Guenuni and Adel Chaoui from Grenfell United for speaking to us on behalf of the survivors and victims’ families of the Grenfell Tower fire. We were also grateful to hear from representatives of building owners in the social and private sectors, as well as fire and building safety experts. This public evidence was complemented by written submissions and correspondence from a range of organisations over the past 12 months, much of which has been published on our website.


1 Building a safer future: proposals for reform of the building safety regulatory system, Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government, 6 June 2019

2 Building a Safer Future: An Implementation Plan, Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government, 18 December 2019, and the Independent Review of Building Regulations and Fire Safety: final report, 17 May 2018

3 Independent review of building regulations and fire safety: next steps, Housing, Communities and Local Government Committee, 18 July 2018




Published: 18 July 2019