Grenfell Tower: Independent Review of Building Regulations and Fire Safety: final report
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The review’s final report which was commissioned by government following the Grenfell Tower fire to make recommendations on the future regulatory system.
From the foreword to the report;
"A personal view from Dame Judith Hackitt":
In my interim report published in December 2017 I described how the regulatory system covering high-rise and complex buildings was
not fit for purpose. In the intervening period, we have seen further evidence confirming the deep flaws in the current system:
• lack of an audit trail as to whether essential safety work was carried out on the Ledbury Estate, and other large panel systems tower blocks;
• a door marketed as a 30-minute fire door failed prior to 30 minutes when tested, revealing concerns around quality assurance and the ability to trace other fire doors manufactured to that specification;
• another tower block fire where fire spread between floors via wooden balconies; and
• a major fire in a car park in Liverpool which came
close to encroaching on a block of flats nearby.
It is not my intention to repeat here all of the shortcomings identified in the interim report.
However, it is important to emphasise that subsequent events have reinforced the findings of the interim report, and strengthened my conviction that there is a need for a radical rethink of the whole system and how it works. This is most definitely not just a question of the specification
of cladding systems, but of an industry that has not reflected and learned for itself, nor looked to
other sectors. This does not mean that all buildings are unsafe. Interim mitigation and remediation measures have been put in place where necessary for existing high-rise residential buildings to assure residents of their safety regarding fire risk.
It is essential that this industry now works to implement a truly robust and assured approach to building the increasingly complex structures in which people live.
The key issues underpinning the system failure include:
• Ignorance – regulations and guidance are not always read by those who need to, and when they do the guidance is misunderstood and misinterpreted.
• Indifference – the primary motivation is to do things as quickly and cheaply as possible rather than to deliver quality homes which are safe for people to live in. When concerns are raised, by others involved in building work or by residents, they are often ignored.
Some of those undertaking building work fail to prioritise safety, using the ambiguity of regulations and guidance to game the system.
• Lack of clarity on roles and responsibilities
– there is ambiguity over where responsibility lies, exacerbated by a level of fragmentation within the industry, and precluding robust ownership of accountability.
• Inadequate regulatory oversight and enforcement tools – the size or complexity of a project does not seem to inform the way in which it is overseen by the regulator.
Where enforcement is necessary, it is often not pursued. Where it is pursued, the penalties are so small as to be an ineffective deterrent.
The above issues have helped to create a cultural issue across the sector, which can be described as a ‘race to the bottom’ caused either through ignorance, indifference, or because the system does not facilitate good practice.
There is insufficient focus on delivering the best quality building possible, in order to ensure
that residents are safe, and feel safe.
DAME JUDITH HACKITT
Published 17 May 2018
- Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government
- DOWNLOAD AND READ THE WHOLE REPORT BELOW