Scope of building regulations review announced

The Government has announced the terms of reference of the independent review of the building regulations and fire safety commissioned following the Grenfell Tower fire.

This review will 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. This will include addressing whether the government’s large-scale cladding system testing programme identified any potential systemic failures.

The review’s two key priorities are to develop a more robust regulatory system for the future and provide further assurance to residents that the buildings they live in are safe and remain safe. It will be chaired by Dame Judith Hackitt, a chemical engineer and civil servant.

The review will:

• map the current regulatory system (i.e. the regulations, guidance and processes) as it applies to new and existing buildings through planning, design, construction, maintenance, refurbishment and change management;
• consider the competencies, duties and balance of responsibilities of key individuals within the system in ensuring that fire safety standards are adhered to;
• assess the theoretical coherence of the current regulatory system and how it operates in practice;
• compare this with other international regulatory systems for buildings and regulatory systems in other sectors with similar safety risks;
• make recommendations that ensure the regulatory system is fit for purpose with a particular focus on multi-occupancy high-rise residential buildings.

The review will run parallel to the public inquiry into the Grenfell Tower fire headed by Sir Martin Moore-Bick. Reporting jointly to the Communities Secretary Sajid Javid and Home Secretary Amber Rudd, the review will submit an interim report in the autumn and a final report next spring.

During the review’s work, the Government will work closely with the chair to identify whether any changes in the report could be implemented. Written responses to both the interim and final reports will be issues and laid before Parliament.

Communities Secretary Sajid Javid said:

We must learn the lessons of the Grenfell Tower tragedy and ensure that a fire like this cannot happen again. Following the fire, I commissioned a series of large-scale tests, which have raised the question of whether there have been potential systemic failures within the building regulatory and fire safety system.

This independent Review led by Dame Judith Hackitt will address any potential failures and recommend how we ensure the whole building regulations and fire safety system is robust. I am determined that we do everything possible to make people safe and to ensure that they feel safe.

Review Chair, Dame Judith Hackitt said:

I look forward to working with experts from across different sectors to take an urgent, fresh and comprehensive examination of the regulatory system and related compliance and enforcement issues.

It’s right that we consider the whole system together and ensure that everything possible is done to improve the safety of buildings. I will also be speaking to residents of multi occupancy residential buildings who must have a voice about these important issues that affect their safety.

About the review chair

Dame Judith Hackitt is former chair of the Health and Safety Executive and is the Chair of manufacturing trade body EEF. She is a chemical engineer and has worked in the chemicals manufacturing industry for 23 years before joining the Chemical Industries Association (CIA) in 1998. She became Director General of CIA (from 2002-2005) and then worked in Brussels for the European Chemical Industry Association (CEFIC).

She was elected as a Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering in July 2010 and currently chairs the External Affairs Committee. Dame Judith is a Fellow of the Institution of Chemical Engineers and a member of council. She was President of IChemE from May 2013 to May 2014.