The Fire Industry Association (FIA) welcomes Dame Judith Hackitt’s Independent Review of Building Regulations and Fire Safety. We, amongst others, have been pushing for years for changes in the regulatory environment and competency levels in the fire safety industry.
The Hackitt Report is a very wide ranging review of the processes used to ensure high standards of fire safety within the design, construction and end use of buildings. It includes recommendations of major changes of those processes when used on High Risk Residential Buildings (HRRBs) and also recommends that the government consider implementing those changes to other high risk buildings, such as hospitals and care homes.
The FIA would agree with this and would encourage the government to implement improvements to fire safety standards more widely, rather than just for HRRBs.
Areas such as competency checks of people and companies operating in key fire safety areas, and the quality control of fire safety installations need to be improved throughout the industry.
The Hackitt Report includes a variety of other recommendations, such as the introduction of the new Joint Competent Authority for HRRBs. That would be a very major change to the approval procedure and the staged process could potentially cause delays to the construction programme. The FIA would question whether the process would result in the envisaged improvement to standards of fire safety although we would welcome more engagement on this issue.
The FIA will be responding to the call for the various organisations within the fire safety industry to take a lead in resolving the problems that clearly exist within fire safety professionals and the construction industry in order to ensure that tragedies such as the Grenfell Tower fire never happen again.