The Fire Sector Federation has written to Dame Judith Hackitt to outline its concerns and recommendations for the Independent Review of the Building Regulations and Fire Safety.
The Federation stated that it believes there has been a systemic failure in the current system of fire safety control, regulation and enforcement regime across the built environment which requires a fundamental review and consideration of a national framework to protect the built environment.
It recommends that any Review of Building Regulations and Fire Safety must be based on an assessment of the real costs of fire (life safety, economic, societal and environmental impacts), anticipated demographic changes, ongoing developments in building products and techniques, changes to Fire and Rescue Services and evolving expectations that buildings should be able to survive fire incidents.
It also recommends that the Review should consider whether the current regime based on self-compliance has resulted in a safer environment in comparison to the prescriptive regulation it replaced. As a result, the review must also consider the impact of the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order and whether risk assessment and self-compliance is compatible with the lightly regulated construction industry.
The FSF recommends that the review of the building regulations and its guidance should:
1. Revise the scope of the regulations to include building resilience.
2. Revise the wording of the Guidance to reduce ambiguity and improve clarity
3. Review certain technical aspects including product testing and the applicability of the Regulations to refurbishment projects
4. Evaluate the systems in place for achieving compliance and enforcing the Regulations
5. Consider competency and the impact of the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order and its relationship with the Building Regulations
6. Look forward in terms of how design and materials are advancing in the built environment to ensure the framework of controls, regimes, research, competencies and knowledge remain relevant to satisfy the risk benefit equation for our society.
Click to view the FSF submission to the Building Regulations and Fire Safety Review
The Review, being led by Dame Judith Hackitt aims to make recommendations that will ensure there is a sufficiently robust regulatory system for the future and to provide further assurance to residents that the complete system is working to ensure the buildings they live in are safe and remain so.
It will examine building and fire safety regulations and related compliance and enforcement. The focus will be on multi occupancy high rise residential buildings.
The Government has issued a call for evidence for the Review with a deadline for responses is 13 October.