Building a Safer Future – Consultation

Building a safer future

Building a Safer Future

The Independent Review of Building Regulation and Fire Safety led by Dame Judith Hackitt, found that there are issues in the way some high-rise residential buildings are built, managed and looked after. Dame Judith stated in the Hackitt report that “there is a cultural issue across the sector, which can be described as a ‘race to the bottom‘ (Foreword, page 6) and she called for a single, streamlined, regulatory route for the provision of building control as set out in page 44 paragraphs 2.43-2.45 above with oversight solely provided through Local Authority Building Control (Recommendation 2.11b).

The MHCLG have recently sought views on their proposals, running their consultation from 6 June to 31 July 2019. It has attracted industry-wide comment for moving away from the locally accountable Joint Competent Authority recommended by Dame Judith Hackitt. Instead the MHCLG are proposing replacing it with an undefined central regulator that continues a role for commercial interests in the new regime.

LABC’s Consultation Response

The LABC welcomed the responses from various industry bodies and experts that support its call for clarity on MHCLG proposals for a new building safety regulator. The LABC’s Deputy Chief Executive, Lorna Stimpson said, “We are disappointed that the consultation document lacked detail on the Building Safety Regulator and we welcome support for our view from across the industry.  We agree with the LGA and numerous fire and rescue services that local democratic accountability is vital. The knowledge of local authority building control combined with fire and rescue is a key ingredient for safer homes and communities. It just isn’t possible for a single central regulator to control thousands of projects all the way through from planning to construction and onward occupation.

“However, we will continue to assist the MHCLG as part of the Joint Regulators Group to test and implement the recommendations contained within Dame Judith’s final report and help to shape the final model for the new regulatory regime. This work is continuing at pace and MHCLG, HSE, NFCC and LGA can be assured of LABC’s ongoing support to develop new arrangements and ultimately build a safer future based on all 53 of Dame Judith’s recommendations.”

Notes

1. In their formal response to Building a Safer Future: Proposals for reform of the building safety regulatory system the CIOB said they, “would like to see more information on what the Government plans, and to have the opportunity of contributing to the development of a model which provides a robust and efficient regime in the future.”

2. The FSF say, “In deliberating on the BSR role, the consultation document has raised additional questions over how the functioning of the regulator with its many constituent parts will successfully oversee fire safety… the consultation is ambiguous when it comes to connections between local enforcement bodies to ensure the proper functioning of the framework…”.

3. Dr Angus Law said, “We are concerned that while Approved Inspectors are retained within the system there will, in practice, always be a choice of regulator. We are concerned, therefore, that the proposed Building Safety Regulator sounds like a single regulatory body, but in reality, may simply represent a re-branding of the existing alternative regulatory routes.”

View the LABC’s full response to the consultation.

HBC Consultation Response

Hertfordshire Building Control Limited replied to the Government Consultation document at the end of July. Managing Director Simon Heywood says

“Construction industry professionals who strive to maintain high standards and use a truly independent body able to provide objective scrutiny to their work will be at a distinct advantage by removing competition from the regulatory process.  This is because those organisations who choose to use less diligent providers of building control services will find themselves with no alternative but to have their work properly scrutinised and held to account if standards are below that required.  There can be no better advertisement for the work of those in the construction industry than using a truly independent body, whose key objective is to work with other sectors of the construction industry with the primary aim of ensuring the health and safety of the building’s users.”

HBC would welcome the opportunity to work with MHCLG to outline in more detail how we see this being achieved.

 

 

 

 

 

About Us

We oversee Building Control for many local councils based in the UK - with a focus on helping both individuals and larger companies to achieve great building results safely.

Guidance Notes

We offer building control services that help you to adhere to UK building regulations - have a look at our guidance notes here for further help.