Dame Judith Hackitt publishes final report on building regulatory system for higher-risk residential buildings

24th May 2018

Dame Judith Hackitt published her final report this week, regarding Building Regulations and Fire Safety in England and Wales, called ‘Building a Safer Future’.  In the report she outlines the evidence that has been collated, which demonstrate that the current system is flawed.

The report outlines the issues which are most prevalent as a result of the 10-month review of the regulatory system of high-rise and complex buildings.

The report recommends establishing a new Joint Competent Authority (JCA) to oversee improved management of safety risks in these buildings, throughout the entire lifecycle of the building.  The JCA will require dutyholders to demonstrate preventative measures for risk management prior to a catastrophic event, and mitigation measures after an event.  Furthermore, a mandatory incident reporting mechanism will also need to be implemented.

A new regulatory framework, initially focused on multi-occupancy higher risk residential buildings (HRRBs) which are 10 or more storeys in height, will be designed to drive cultural change and bring about improvements in best practice – ensuring that buildings are the best possible quality and that residents are safe.

This new approach will be an ‘outcome based approach’ – meaning that the new regulations will define the outcomes that the building work needs to achieve, as opposed to a ‘prescriptive approach’.

The outcome based approach is designed to be more flexible and allows every building to be assessed on an individual basis, especially in the case of high rise buildings which are complex in their nature and require bespoke solutions to be applied, where practicable to do so.

At this stage, the report does not go so far as to ban combustible materials on high rise buildings, however the government will soon enter into consultation on this issue.

The overall aim of the new framework will be to rebuild public confidence in the regulatory system and to ensure real accountability for building safety.

For further advice or guidance on fire regulation issues, please contact our specialist fire safety team. The S2 Partnership has a dedicated team of fire safety experts, providing fire risk assessments, training, guidance, fire engineering and fire safety management systems to a range of organisations to meet legal obligations. The S2 Partnership works with clients to develop robust fire safety solutions, providing just the right support to each individual organisation to protect lives, buildings and businesses. For further information, please contact us.