On 17 May 2018, the UK Government released the Independent Review of Building Regulations and Fire Safety: Final Report.
The report sets out a new regulatory framework to address the weaknesses identified in the interim report.
The weaknesses included the building and fire safety systems not being fit for purpose, duty holders being unaware of the laws, and duty holders failing to prioritise safety or use the ambiguity of the regulation to “game the system”. The report sets out that the new framework is designed to create a more simple and effective mechanism for driving building safety, provide stronger oversight of duty holders with incentives for the right behaviours, and effective sanctions for poor performance, and to reassert the role of residents. The framework aims to strengthen the regulatory oversight, clarify roles and responsibilities, and to raise and assure competence levels to allow residents to feel safe, be safe and be listened to when they raise concerns about building safety.
The key principles of the new framework are to have an integrated systemic change which requires legislative change over time, identifying a way to apply the principles to the existing complex high-rise residential buildings, and to maintain the collaboration and partnership within the sector. Previously, consumer and building safety were explicitly excluded from the responsibility of the Health and Safety Executive (the UK’s health and safety regulator), however the framework has attempted to extend the scope of the workplace health and safety regulator by acknowledging that there is a strong case for the full effect of the key principle of risk ownership and management.
The UK’s inquiry into the circumstances leading up to and surrounding the Grenfell Tower fire commenced yesterday, having its first commemoration hearings.
You can read more about the regulatory response in Australia on our dedicated dashboard by clicking here.