Construction Crane v1Following the tragic fire at Grenfell Tower and subsequent large-scale testing of aluminium composite material cladding from similar buildings across the country, the government has announced an independent review of building regulations and fire safety.

The Grenfell Tower fire raised serious questions about the fire safety of high-rise residential blocks of flats.  The first system tested, a wall cladding system using an aluminium composite material cladding with unmodified polyethylene filler (Cat 3) and foam insulation, failed the test which is currently set out in building regulations guidance. 

The review will be led by Dame Judith Hackitt and will look at current building regulations and fire safety with a particular focus on high-rise residential buildings.  It 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.

Dame Judith will consult with the Building Regulations Advisory Committee (which advises the government on changes to building regulations), the construction and housing industry, the fire sector, international experts, MPs and the public.  It is expected that an interim report will be presented before the end of the year and a final report no later than spring 2018.  

The government has written to local authorities and housing associations to outline funding arrangements, but expects all building owners to fund measures designed to make a building safe and to draw on their existing resources to do so.  It will ensure that any current restrictions on the use of financial resources do not prevent a relevant party from making essential fire safety upgrades to buildings.

Comment

The results of the review and any subsequent changes to the building regulations regime, will be of particular interest to residents of blocks of flats who own the freehold of their building, either individually or by way of shares in a company.  Although the changes are unlikely to have retrospective effect, insurance premiums may be affected if the building does not conform to current guidance on fire safety.

Moira MacFarlane - Partner


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