The interim report from the Independent Review of Building Regulations and Fire Safety, was published today. Led by Dame Judith Hackitt, the report summary already has come to some key conclusions.
1. Current regulations and guidance are too complex and unclear. This can lead to confusion and misinterpretation in their application to high-rise and complex buildings.
2. Clarity of roles and responsibilities is poor. Even where there are requirements for key activities to take place across design, construction and maintenance, it is not always clear who has responsibility for making it happen.
3. Despite many who demonstrate good practice, the means of assessing and ensuring the competency of key people throughout the system is inadequate. There is often no differentiation in competency requirements for those working on high-rise and complex buildings.
4. Compliance, enforcement and sanctions processes are too weak. What is being designed is not what is being built and there is a lack of robust change control. The lack of meaningful sanctions does not drive the right behaviours.
5. The route for residents to escalate concerns is unclear and inadequate.
6.The system of product testing, marketing and quality assurance is not clear.
Fire Cubed LLP were one of the organisations invited to assist with this review. Paul Bryant of Fire Cubed comments "These initial findings are exactly what we have found as continuing issues. I am glad that they have highlighted competence as an issue. As many will know, I have campaigned for us to avoid "cheap and cheerful" fire strategies, mostly undertaken by persons with little competence. These are becoming increasingly commonplace as budget always seem to take precedence over safety."