Mixed use premises

interest for a local audience. Not so the tragic fire at Grenfell Tower in June 2017, almost exactly one year before the second Glasgow School of Art fire. While clearly this was not a construction site fire, its consequences are being felt at all stages in the planning, construction and management of buildings across the UK. The Grenfell inquiry chaired by Sir Martin

Moore Bick continues to hear evidence from its expert witnesses, from London Fire Brigade and from the bereaved, survivors and residents. Fire safety has acquired a ‘presence’ like never before, not just for those living in high rises, but for anyone who has seen the Grenfell Tower fire. As part of the response to the Grenfell

Tower fire, Dame Judith Hackitt published Building a Safer Future, Independent Review of Building Regulations and Fire Safety: Final Report. At 156 pages long, it is a complex read that is intended to establish ‘a new regulatory framework focused, in the first instance, on multi-occupancy higher risk residential buildings that are ten storeys or more in height’. Dame Judith was chair of the Health and

Safety Executive from 2007 to 2016, and the influence of the HSE approach runs throughout her report. Understanding the Hackitt report and

reacting to its contents is critical to those working in the wider construction industry because, while the focus for now is on high risk

38 FEBRUARY 2019

residential buildings, the scope of the regulatory framework could eventually extend to other types of risk.

In Recommendation 2.11 of her report,

Dame Judith asserts ‘the overarching principle that responsibility for understanding and managing building safety must rest with those dutyholders whose building work create[s] the risk. This is a significant culture change but it has the potential to help underpin a more modern, productive and safe building sector’. The Hackitt Report recommends a Joint

Competent Authority to oversee ‘the golden thread’ of construction, from planning to handover. She is focused on how the building is constructed and how building fire safety is considered at every stage. It is only logical that fire safety on construction sites is also part of that same consideration. In Dame Judith’s report, she uses the

word ‘risk’ 292 times. That makes sense and will be of no surprise to anyone working in construction or in any part of the fire sector. The other word that is peppered throughout the report is ‘standards’.

Standards and inspection

In England, the Home Office is responsible for the fire and rescue service and it is shining a spotlight on standards with the creation of a new Fire Standards Board. This is set to mark a considerable step change for

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