Dame Judith Hackitt’s Independent Review of Building Regulations and Fire Safety: Final Report was published last Thursday, confirming that landlords and building managers will be held accountable by a ‘joint competent authority’ (JCA) that is now to be introduced.
With an aim to oversee safety within multi-occupancy higher-risk residential buildings, it has been welcomed as a “step in the right direction” by the Charted Institute of Environmental Health (CIEH).
This review was undertaken in response to the fire at Grenfell Tower last year. It inspected building and fire safety regulations and related compliance and enforcement, focusing on high-rise residential buildings.
It contains over 50 recommendations for the Government as to how it can make future improvements to the regulatory system, including the introduction of the JCA. This authority is to include Local Authority Building Standards, fire and rescue authorities and the Health and Safety Executive in order to oversee better management.
Tamara Sandoul, housing policy manager at the Charted Institute of Environmental Health (CIEH), has commented: “We strongly welcome the final report and look to the government to take action quickly in order to make high rise buildings safe places to live in and to reassure occupants that they are well protected from danger.
“First and foremost, all homes should be safe and healthy places to live and everyone needs to have confidence in the way in which their building is being managed.
“We are delighted that the final report acknowledges the need to tackle fire safety in other types of multi-occupied buildings – such as large houses badly converted into flats. We shouldn’t ignore issues with fire safety, whether the building is above or below 18 metres. We would like the Government to further clarify responsibility and enforcement of fire safety within these types of buildings.
“Considering the breadth of this report, we now call on the government to set up the JCA as a priority so it can look in detail at vital issues such as cladding, sprinklers, and fire escapes.”