Independent review of building regulations and fire safety: next steps Contents

Introduction

1.The tragic fire at Grenfell Tower in June 2017 demonstrated the clear need for an urgent and comprehensive review of our building regulations. It was therefore welcome that the Government commissioned an Independent Review of Building Regulations and Fire Safety in July 2017, chaired by Dame Judith Hackitt, to:

[...] urgently assess the effectiveness of current building and fire safety regulations and related compliance and enforcement issues, with a focus on multi occupancy high rise residential buildings.1

2.We have closely followed the progress of the Independent Review since its establishment. On the publication of the Interim Report, the Committee held an evidence session with Dame Judith to discuss her initial findings. While welcoming many of the Independent Review’s interim conclusions, the Committee repeatedly raised concerns regarding the direction of travel, both during this session and in subsequent correspondence. Of particular concern was the Independent Review’s apparent approach to the role of prescription in the future Building Regulations.2

3.When the Review’s Final Report was published in May, we held a further evidence session with Dame Judith. While we welcomed many aspects of the report, it was clear that some of the specific and significant concerns that we had raised had not been heeded.3 These concerns—in particular relating to the Review’s failure to address the issue of whether combustible materials should be banned from use in the cladding on high-rise buildings—were the focus of much of the public and media reaction to the Independent Review. It is unfortunate that this overshadowed many of the important recommendations in the Final Report with which the Committee and many others agreed, not least around the need for culture change, that fire safety be considered throughout the life-cycle of buildings, and that residents should have a much greater voice.

4.Upon the conclusion of the Independent Review, the Government stated that it would:

5.The Committee wanted to contribute to this important follow-up work. We therefore decided to hold two evidence sessions with industry representatives, fire safety experts and testers, building owners and insurers, to consider:

6.Due to the need to feed into the Government’s considerations quickly, we have focused our work around specific conclusions and recommendations, reflecting the public statements we made during the course of the Independent Review and drawing on our public evidence sessions and the correspondence subsequently received. All such correspondence have been reported to the House and published and are listed in the back of this report. Our expectation is that this Report—which, for clarity, is entirely independent from Dame Judith’s Review—will directly inform the Government’s various consultations and considerations before its announcement on the future of building regulations later in the year.


1 Independent Review of Building Regulations and Fire Safety: publication of terms of reference, Press Release, Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government, 30 August 2017

4 Government commits to major building safety reforms, Press Release, Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government, 17 May 2018




Published: 18 July 2018