water down these changes. Resident voices must be given weight and parliament must keep a watchful eye on progress.’ Claire Curtis-Thomas, chief

executive of the British Board of Agrement, commented:‘The industry has continuously argued for tougher standards and by introducing clearer guidance, including establishing a new Standards Committee to advise on construction product and system standards and regulations, we can continue to work with the government to enable rigorous oversights are put in place for those undertaking building work, which will in turn provide a stronger voice for residents. ‘The BBA believes that a culture

change must be instituted, helping to create a more responsible building industry, from design through to construction and management.’ Stephen Adams, chief executive

of BAFE, stated: ‘BAFE will continue to respond to all consultations and contribute to the appropriate Working Groups to ensure that the value of third party certificated competence and quality is recognised to keep people safe and support the responsible person during the life of a building.’ While the NFCC welcomed the

news, it also ‘expressed concern’ that ‘key aspects [...] need to go further’. In addition, it was concerned that competency issues ‘remain’ despite being ‘highlighted in detail’, and said that ‘urgent action’ was needed to ‘address this skills gap, otherwise the plans to improve the oversight of a building’s design, construction and maintenance will be thwarted because of insufficient numbers of people with the relevant skills, qualifications, and behaviours to provide the proper scrutiny’. It recommended that sprinklers ‘become a requirement’ in all new high rise residential buildings (HRRBs) 18m or higher; that height thresholds are examined in a review of Approved Document B of the Building Regulations (ADB); that student accommodation be included in the sprinkler requirements; that HRRBs

30m or higher should be required to retrofit sprinklers during refurbishment, or when served by only one staircase; and that new residential care premises and specialised housing should provide sprinkler protection. Roy Wilsher, NFCC chair, said:

‘NFCC remains disappointed that Dame Judith’s working groups did not consult on what constitutes a high-risk building. The result was an arbitrary recommendation based on limited analysis, which has hampered further progress from being made to date. We believe the regime should apply more widely to buildings where a considerable number of people sleep, and be built on better risk information.’ Mark Hardingham, chair of the

NFCC’s protection and business safety committee, added: ‘We are pleased the Government has now called for evidence on a full technical review of ADB. The NFCC will be calling for improvements to sprinkler requirements, firefighting access and other provisions needed to help make communities safer, such as technical requirements for fire hydrants. ‘The NFCC is pleased to become a member of the Joint Regulators Group announced [recently]. We look forward to working more closely with colleagues to ensure that we make progress towards better building safety, and to test and develop new approaches. ‘The NFCC agrees that the

regimes regulating housing and fire safety do not interact to ensure that fire and structural safety is adequately prioritised for residents. We look forward to working with the Government on how to ensure fire and housing legislation is amended to address these issues.’ Terry McDermott, NFCC lead for

automatic water suppression systems, noted: ‘Sprinkler requirements in Wales and Scotland surpass those in England, including domestic sprinklers in new social housing developments and suppression systems in new homes. [Last] month, Scotland announced changes to reduce some height related building regulations requirements

from 18 metres to 11 metres, and where possible, extend mandatory installation of sprinklers in flats, regardless of height, and in larger multi-occupancy dwellings and those which provide care. NFCC would like to see English standards enhanced to improve consistency and public safety across the UK.’ Mr Wilsher concluded: ‘Recent announcements to ban dangerous cladding are welcomed, but we remain disappointed the ban does not go further and apply to buildings of any height. People in buildings below 18 metres should be afforded the same protection as those in other buildings. This threshold is a historical height which does not reflect modern firefighting equipment and practices. As such, we hope the review of ADB will properly reconsider the appropriateness of the 18 metre threshold.’ The Fire Sector Federation said it

was ‘heartened’ that the government ‘agrees with the Review’s diagnosis and the principles behind it’, and welcomed its recognition of the ‘need for a step change in systems and behaviour’ in order to ‘radically improve culture and capability’. It believes however that it will take time to ‘achieve and require broad input’ from stakeholders, so effective delivery will require reforms to be ‘tackled head on and speedily concluded’.

It also highlighted the need

for continued investment to ‘ensure appropriate outcomes’, offering its members’ expertise. Chairman Michael Harper commented: ‘The tragedy of Grenfell Tower demanded the strongest of Government response and the Federation readily acknowledges the commitment and resources already made available to create and progress a Building Safety Programme and commission the Review of Building Regulations and Fire Safety. ‘In urging the Government to

continue its commitment to improve fire safety, the Federation confirms it will positively contribute through the consultation process and any other route by offering whatever technical and moral support it can to advance public fire safety.’ FEBRUARY 2019 7

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