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Government announces review of building regulations and fire safety

The government has announced an independent review of building regulations and fire safety in the aftermath of the Grenfell Tower disaster.

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The government announces review of building regulations

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In a statement announcing the review, the government has said the fire “raised serious questions” about the safety of tall buildings.

The independent review will be led by Dame Judith Hackitt, chair of EEF – The Manufacturers’ Organisation, and will look at current building regulations and fire safety with a particular focus on high-rise residential buildings.


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It will report jointly to the communities secretary Sajid Javid and the home secretary Amber Rudd.

Building regulations have been sharply in the spotlight in the aftermath of the Grenfell fire, with cladding added to hundreds of social housing blocks failing government combustibility tests.

And today, the first results from a large-scale test on an entire cladding system showed it failed to prevent the spread of flame.

Some providers have since claimed, despite this, that the cladding was compliant with existing building regulations.

The coroner’s inquest into the deadly fire in Lakanal House, south London, in 2009 recommended the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) review Approved Document B, which governs this area of building regulation.

In her letter to the department, coroner Frances Kirkham described it as “a most difficult document to use” and said it should be redrafted. Despite repeated calls from fire safety experts and a parliamentary committee, this was never done.

The review announced today will examine:

  • The regulatory system around the design, construction and on-going management of buildings in relation to fire safety
  • Related compliance and enforcement issues
  • International regulation and experience in this area

Mr Javid said: “It’s clear we need to urgently look at building regulations and fire safety.

“This independent review will ensure we can swiftly make any necessary improvements. Government is determined to make sure that we learn the lessons from the Grenfell Tower fire, and ensure nothing like it can happen again.”

Dame Judith was previously chair of the Health and Safety Executive for nine years.

Inside Housing’s Never Again campaign calls on government to update and clarify building regulations immediately – with a commitment to update if additional learning emerges at a later date from the Grenfell inquiry”.

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