Grenfell Tower Review – Building a Safer Future

17-05-18 15:30 BIFM

BIFM welcomes the publication of Building a Safer Future, the final report by Dame Judith Hackitt following her Interim Report on the Independent Review of Building Regulations and Fire Safety.

In particular, we welcome the proposal for the stronger competencies within building management, as well as the broader built environment because it recognises the key role that FMs play in life safety.

We believe this will lead to greater safety for people living in multi-occupancy, higher-risk residential buildings almost a year after the tragic events at Grenfell Tower. Read the full report here.

The report stresses the ‘system failure’ and ‘culture of indifference’ in the delivery of buildings and reiterates that the current system for building regulations and fire safety is not fit for purpose.  The initial key findings of importance for FM can be found below.

BIFM’s Life Safety Working Group (LSWG) has been actively participating in the Review Team’s work, feeding into the recommendations released today.

Group Chair, Rob Greenfield said:” Given the important role of FMs in ensuring high standards of life safety in buildings, it was essential that we were part of the Review Team’s working groups- helping to articulate how fire safety could be achieved best when maintaining buildings and in the subgroup on competency in maintenance.

The LSWG will now review the report line by line to focus on how FM best practice can feed into the Government’s response to the report which will enable the highest standards of fire safety in higher-risk residential buildings and indeed the wider built environment.”

The LSWG will publish its assessment of the Report in due course, together with its own recommendations on best practice and required competency standards for achieving fire safety in the maintenance of higher-risk residential buildings.

Complementing our engagement in the Hackitt Review, the LSWG is exploring how to strengthen the competency of those managing higher risk buildings including looking at the development of a specific competency accreditation programme supported by ongoing relevant CPD.

Key findings of importance to FM:

  • A new regulatory framework should be established and focused, in the first instance, on multi-occupancy, higher-risk residential buildings (HRRBs) that are 10 storeys or more in height.
  • The new regulatory framework will be overseen by a new Joint Competent Authority (JCA), which will comprise Local Authority Building Standards, fire and rescue authorities and the Health and Safety Executive
  • More rigorous enforcement powers of building regulations
  • The proposal to establish a clear and identifiable duty holder with responsibility for building safety of the whole building, during occupation.   The duty holder must nominate a ‘building safety manager’ with the relevant skills, knowledge and expertise to assist in discharging their duties.
  • With regard to competence, Dame Hackitt proposes that the professional and accreditation bodies ‘continue the work started in response to the interim report and present a coherent proposal to government within one year’.  ‘As a minimum this proposal should cover the role and remit of an overarching body to provide oversight of competence arrangements and support the delivery of competent people working on HRRBs’.
  • Each professional body should deliver a programme of fire and system-safety related CPD which should be mandatory for individuals accredited by that professional body.
  • All accrediting bodies including professional bodies should themselves be accredited by UKAS.
  • She states that ‘if government does not consider that the proposed approach provides the necessary assurance to the JCA, or there is evidence that the fragmented approach to the oversight of competence will continue, then government should mandate a body to establish the competence levels required.’

Related topics

Building services

Fire protection