Research by UK Construction Week (UKCW) claims that the construction industry is implementing fire safety improvements over and above those required by regulations because the government is seen to be dragging its feet on making meaningful change.
It is said to becoming more common for tenders, procurement terms and contracts to include increasingly stringent fire safety requirements for building materials and requiring more evidence of fire testing of products.
Nathan Garnett, the event director at UKCW, said the research showed the sector was taking every opportunity to change practices and was willing to change the way buildings are procured, designed, built and maintained.
Respondents to the UKCW survey are waiting for the outcome of the review of the building regulations but they criticise the time it is taking since the Grenfell Tower tragedy and the report from the Hackitt review.
Comments from the research include, “I just wish that action could happen more quickly,” and “Things are changing, but way too slowly”.
One said: “The government will take a decade to produce yet another set of incomplete regulations together and will probably produce yet another White Paper. They need to set a clock on this.”
Respondents to the research say they have carried out reviews of project designs and specifications, to have commissioned additional fire risk assessments, and to ensure that fire safety training is current.
They survey asked respondents to identify the three things they would most like to see change. The first was the greater involvement of an architect, clerk of works, fire engineer, the fire and rescue service, or other professional adviser who would do a full fire risk assessment and ensure better design and specification. Some called for the end of design and build contracts.
Second was greater attention given to the materials being specified and used on all buildings, including a ban on combustible materials, in particular cladding and insulation.
Third choice is for sprinklers and other active fire detection and suppression systems to be installed and maintained in all buildings.