The Fire Sector Federation (FSF) broadly endorses the key findings and recommendations detailed by Dame Judith Hackitt in her interim report for the Independent Review of Building Regulations and Fire Safety.
Having found that the current regulatory system for ensuring fire safety in high rise and complex buildings is not fit for purpose, the report has outlined a direction of travel which the FSF largely supports.
However, the Federation has some concerns about how the recommendations will be implemented and is calling for a clear path for legislative change and transparent arrangements for developing a regulatory system and appropriate guidance which ends industry fragmentation and results in improved levels of competence and responsibility.
FSF Chairman Paul Fuller says:
“The Fire Sector Federation welcomes the interim findings of the Independent Review of Building Regulations and Fire Safety, particularly the recognition that the existing regulatory system is not fit for purpose.
“The FSF has long expressed concern about the current system of fire safety regulation and enforcement and the clear need to define competency requirements for all professionals involved. We strongly support the call for clearly defined responsibility throughout a building’s lifecycle and for the establishment of formal accreditation and raised levels of competence for all those engaged in fire prevention within the built environment.
“The FSF has been working to develop a broad competency framework and we look forward to working with all stakeholders to develop a robust and coherent system to ensure that a joined up system for qualification can be established.”
The Federation also recognises the need for a change in culture, says FSF President Brian Robinson:
“The FSF commends the important work undertaken by Dame Judith and her review team in so clearly identifying the failings within the system and fully endorses Dame Judith’s call for significant culture change across the industry.
“However, we have concerns about how the wider fire and construction sectors can be brought together to implement the recommended change of approach and look forward to discussions at the forthcoming summit in January. Significant co-ordination and clear leadership will be required to take forward the recommendations and ensure that the silos which exist across the industry are completely broken down.
“The Federation believes there is a pressing need for a National Fire Safety Agency that can address fragmentation and take into account input from all the professionals involved in ensuring the fire safety of our built environment.
“Such an Agency with wide representation from across the fire and construction sectors would fill the gap that so clearly exists at the national level for a single responsible authority to act as a centre of expertise and advice.”