We endeavour to keep you informed about the latest releases and developments addressing Grenfell Tower Fire and Hackitt Report

25 June 2020

2020


Thursday 25th June

Parliament considering the Fire Safety Bill today

At 1130 today in the Thatcher Room of the Houses of Parliament, the Fire Bill is being discussed. You can watch the evidence session online: https://tinyurl.com/y2ba4rp2 from 1130 onwards and then further consideration at 1400 in Committee Room 9.

The proposed Fire Safety Bill has been written to build on the action already taken to ensure that people feel safe in their homes, and a tragedy like the Grenfell Tower fire never happens again.

The bill will amend the Fire Safety Order 2005 to clarify that the responsible person or duty-holder for multi-occupied, residential buildings must manage and reduce the risk of fire for:

  • the structure and external walls of the building, including cladding, balconies and windows
  • entrance doors to individual flats that open into common parts

This clarification will empower fire and rescue services to take enforcement action and hold building owners to account if they are not compliant.

Ian Moore CEO of the FIA states “This is a significant piece of legislation for our industry and the public; and the FIA have invested a lot of time in supporting the development of the Fire Safety Bill with a number of guidance papers, opinion papers issued and involvement with several committees. There are areas of contention and we look forward eagerly to see how this develops”


Friday 19th June

National Audit Office report exposes cladding remediation programme failings

NAO report says that Government is falling behind on its promise to strip dangerous cladding three years after Grenfell Tower fire and at least 300 buildings still covered by dangerous materials. The National Audit Office (NAO) found the government’s plans have “lagged behind (their) own expectations”  In the private residential sector, in particular, the pace of work has been slower than the government had expected.

The ministry estimates that all buildings within scope of its funding will be remediated by mid-2022, with over 95% completed by the end of 2021. This is later than the expectation set in July 2019 by the then secretary of state, that “other than in exceptional circumstances, building owners should complete remediation […] by June 2020.”

The NAO says that this does not take account of the impacts of Covid-19: 60% of cladding remediation projects that were under way paused in April 2020., although most have now restarted after ministerial intervention.

Read More>>

 


 Sunday 14th June 

Three years on from the Grenfell Tower disaster

June 14 marked the third anniversary of the Grenfell Tower tragedy. As an organisation, and as individuals, we have spent the last few days reflecting deeply on the Grenfell Tower disaster where 72 people tragically lost their lives and countless other lives changed forever.

‘The Bishop of Kensington, Graham Tomlin, said commemorating the fire has been "quite a challenge" because of coronavirus.

Yet thousands of people illuminated their rooms and houses green for Grenfell on 10:30 pm on June 14th to remember those who lost their life. By illuminating their home green thousands showed the nation we’re still united for change & justice.

"Remembering is crucial because if we forget then we repeat the mistakes of the past," he said.

Since the Grenfell Tower tragedy, the FIA has responded to the call for the various organisations within the fire safety industry to take a lead in resolving the problems that clearly exist within the fire safety and construction industry in order to ensure that preventable tragedies such as the Grenfell Tower fire never happen again.

As a result, the FIA have had significant input on the post-Grenfell Hackitt report and the recommendations which have gone back to government via the competency steering group.

The FIA is dedicated to advance the fire industry to be a better, safer and more competent workforce by providing training to fire safety professionals up and down the country – as well as our close work with the government.

To read more about how we are improving the industry for all –click here

 

Source


Thursday 4th June 

Registration for the £1bn Building Safety Fund to remove cladding is now open

The UK Government has launched its £1 billion building safety fund, initially revealed in the most recent Budget announcement by Chancellor, Rishi Sunak. The registration process is now open and closes on 31 July 2020.

‘The fund is aimed at making sure tenants, leaseholders and residents living in buildings covered by the fund are safe and feel safe by remediating unsafe non-ACM cladding systems. These will be cladding materials and systems that do not meet an appropriate standard of fire safety and could pose a significant risk to the health and safety of residents, other building users, people nearby or the fire and rescue services.’

‘The fund will meet the cost of remediating non-ACM cladding systems where building owners (or other entities legally responsible for making buildings safe) are unable to do so. The fund will address some of the barriers to remediation being carried out quickly.’

The registration process will open in the first week of June and will remain open until 31st July 2020. Once buildings are registered with the program the Department will work with building owners to complete any technical assessments necessary to determine eligibility. Full guidance and an application process for buildings which meet the technical criteria will be available by the end of July 2020. This will enable the full application process to proceed at pace. Where building owners have the capacity and capability to undertake identification activity the Department expects they will continue to do so. Further support for building owners will be available once registered.


 Wednesday 27th May 

Ian Moore, CEO of the FIA, would like to inform you about that the long-awaited update to The Building Regulations 2010, specifically Approved Document B (ADB): Fire safety, Volumes 1 and 2.

The changes highlighted in this amendment take effect on 26 November 2020 for use in England, until then the 2019 edition will continue to apply (within certain listed constraints).

The changes focus on the following fire safety provisions in blocks of flats for water-based extinguishing systems (a reduction in the trigger height from 30m to 11m) and wayfinding signage for the fire service:

It is now available from the Government website. Full details of the changes can be found here


Monday 27th April 

CROSS (Confidential Reporting on Structural Safety)

CROSS (Confidential Reporting on Structural Safety) is a project that has been commissioned following the Hackitt report on the Grenfell Tower fire tragedy.

As part of a planned update to the existing website they are now focusing on how best to position CROSS in the future. To do this, they have used an agency to create some visuals and wording to make the project to be as inclusive as possible. This means inviting feedback from people who are likely to use CROSS now and in the future. The agency has created a short survey to help do this, which is where you as an FIA member can come in.

Read More>>


Monday 3rd March 

Grenfell Fire Tower Update - Immunity granted despite survivors seeking prosecutions

The attorney general, Rt Hon Suella Braverman QC MP, has said that any and all things said by witnesses to the Grenfell Tower inquiry will not be used as evidence towards prosecuting them. Now both the attorney general and the chairman of the inquiry has backed the demand for immunity from witnesses.

With witnesses claiming they would stay silent and decline to give evidence if they were not granted immunity the second phase of the Grenfell Tower inquiry has been paused for several weeks. Although, witnesses have only been granted immunity on the oral evidence that they submit. The immunity does not cover document and or evidence given from the corporations themselves

Read More>>


 Sunday 2nd March 

Technology can empower residents to feel safe as the Government fails to confirm funding

The Government has been urged to foot a multi-billion-pound bill to save hundreds of thousands of apartment owners who have been caught in the post-Grenfell fire safety dilemma. Yet pressure is still mounting on the Government to act as social landlords have warned that they face a £10bn to rectify fire safety problems after the Grenfell Tower tragedy.

The estimate includes the cost of remediation work to buildings of all heights, with all kinds of dangerous cladding, as well as the implementation of the recommendations from the Hackitt Review and the first phase of the Grenfell Tower Inquiry.

Whilst, technology is important in empowering residents to feel safe. There remains little doubt that without substantial funding and support from the Government that this fire safety crisis is set to continue.

Read More >>


Wednesday 26th February 2020

How will the different legislative approaches to Grenfell Tower fire play out? A comparison between England and Scotland.

With the UK government recently announcing that a new building safety regulator for England will be created. This regulator will be overseen by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), this regulatory body aims to “improve high-rise residential building and fire safety.” The new body will be overseen by Dame Judith Hackitt, who chaired the report in response to the Grenfell Tower fire.

On the other hand, the Scottish government quickly responded in 2017 to the Grenfell Tower fire by launching two independent reviews. The Cole and Stollard review aimed to look at Scottish building standards, whilst another looked to assess the Scottish fire safety regime. Both reviews led to legislation being introduced as a result of the recommendations. For instance, “enhanced standards for smoke, heat and carbon monoxide detectors and alarm systems" alongside increased use of sprinklers and second escape stairs in new buildings, as well as a ban on combustible cladding on a range of buildings”. Whilst these legislative changes were deemed a success it appears that Scotland could be left behind as reform in England is gaining momentum.

Read More>>


Wednesday 19th February 

Grenfell Tower Fire Update – Potential fraud charges and a new search for a panel member

Sir Martin Moore-Bick, the Chairman of the inquiry, has said that those involved in the refurbishment of Grenfell Tower, that tragically claimed 72 lives, could face fraud charges.

The chairman told the attorney general, Geoffrey Cox, that during the hearings that are set to take place after the inquiry starts again on 24th February, that ‘witnesses are “very likely” to be asked to discuss issues involving potential fraud offences.’

“Any questions put to employees of the manufacturers or sellers of the cladding materials about how they came to market potentially dangerous products are likely to lead to their invoking the privilege against self-incrimination,” Sir Martin Moore-Bick said.

Read More>>


 12 February 2020

Pressure mounts on the inquiry as a decision needs to be made on immunity whilst providing evidence.

Pressure mounts on the inquiry as a decision needs to be made on immunity whilst providing evidence.

The Confederation of British Industry (CBI), Britain’s biggest business lobby group, has called for ‘maximum transparency and accountability’ in the Grenfell Tower fire inquiry. This comes in response to the companies involved in the hearing asking for immunity from prosecution if they do provide evidence, which led to the tragic deaths of 72 residents in 2017. The CBI added that all parties must collaborate fully ‘without exception or preconditions’.

This pressure has led the chair of the Grenfell Tower Inquiry to delay the hearing for at least two weeks so that the Attorney General can decide if any evidence provided by the companies will be used against them in any future prosecutions.

Read More>>


26 February 2020

How will the different legislative approaches to Grenfell Tower fire play out? A comparison between England and Scotland.

With the UK government recently announcing that a new building safety regulator for England will be created. This regulator will be overseen by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), this regulatory body aims to “improve high-rise residential building and fire safety.” The new body will be overseen by Dame Judith Hackitt, who chaired the report in response to the Grenfell Tower fire.

On the other hand, the Scottish government quickly responded in 2017 to the Grenfell Tower fire by launching two independent reviews. The Cole and Stollard review aimed to look at Scottish building standards, whilst another looked to assess the Scottish fire safety regime. Both reviews led to legislation being introduced as a result of the recommendations. For instance, “enhanced standards for smoke, heat and carbon monoxide detectors and alarm systems" alongside increased use of sprinklers and second escape stairs in new buildings, as well as a ban on combustible cladding on a range of buildings”. Whilst these legislative changes were deemed a success it appears that Scotland could be left behind as reform in England is gaining momentum.

Read More>>


16 January 2020

Dame Judith Hackitt suggests more house builders could be failing to meet fire safety measures

Dame Judith Hackitt, the well known and respected author of Independent Review of Building Regulations and Fire Safety, has weighed in on QC Stephanie Barwise's report into Persimmon by saying that it would be surprising if it was only Persimmon's properties who have failed to meet fire safety measures.

Read More>>


2019


20 December 2019

Second-largest house builder in the UK failing to meet the mark on fire safety issues.

Second-largest house builder in the UK failing to meet the mark on fire safety issues.

Persimmon told to consider their purpose and ambition in a scathing review that reveals shortcomings with fire prevention measures and below par workmanship on its properties nationwide.

A wide-ranging report launched by the Persimmon Board to investigate allegations over poor quality and executive pay. More importantly this report was intended to pave the way for Persimmon to ‘adopt the principles of the Hackitt Review’.

Read More>>


9 October 2019

FIA Annual Report for 2019 is available now

Ian Moore, FIA CEO, said, "Following our successful contribution to the [Hackitt] report, we have been heavily involved with the working groups on competency which, being mentioned 152 times in the report, is clearly an issue that most of us have known about for many years.

"The next stage is to tackle competency failings identified in the Hackitt Review by looking at a radical and wide-ranging set of measures to improve the competence of those who design, construct, inspect, maintain and operate higher risk residential buildings (HRRBs) and make them safer for the public."

Read More>>


25 September 2019

Deregulation responsible for Grenfell, claims FBU report

Matt Wrack, FBU general secretary, said: “The terrible loss of life at Grenfell Tower was ultimately caused by political decisions made at the highest level. For at least 40 years, policies relating to housing, local government, the fire and rescue service, research and other areas have been driven by the agenda of cuts, deregulation and privatisation.”

“A deep-seated culture of complacency has developed regarding fire policy and fire safety and central government bears ultimate responsibility.”

Read More>>


4 June 2019

Very little change has been made despite Hackitt review

Firms ‘yet to change’ the way they work

Construction companies have changed very little in response to the Hackitt review after the Grenfell fire, according to a new survey by Building. A majority of the firms who took part in the survey have ‘yet to change’ the way they work, despite the recommendations made in the review.

More than half (56%) of firms said they had not changed how they assess the competency of staff and 46% said they had ‘not been swayed’ by the Hackitt report's recommendations. Over a third of those who took part in the survey reported no change in terms of checking on the quality of work being undertaken on site, despite the report calling for a wholesale shift in attitudes towards building safety.

Read More>>


2018


19 December 2018

Independent Review of Building Regulations and Fire Safety - Implementation Plan

The Government has published its plan for implementing changes to the regulatory framework around building safety, in response to the recommendations set out in the Independent Review of Building Regulations and Fire Safety.  The implementation plan summarises the work that has already been undertaken to make existing buildings safe and to kick start system reform, as well as the action Government will take to fundamentally reform the building safety system in the future. 

Read more>>


22 May 2018

The FIA responds to the Hackitt review

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.

Read More>>

 


17 May 2018

Dame Judith Hackitt calls for ‘radical rethink’ of fire safety

In her government-commissioned report, Dame Judith said a "genuine" culture change was needed in building. Following the fire, cladding on hundreds of buildings failed safety testsbut the report stops short of calling for a ban on cladding.

The independent review has been looking into regulations around the design, construction and management of buildings in relation to fire safety. In her final report, Dame Judith said her proposals would result in a new regulator to oversee the construction and management of buildings, starting with 2,000 to 3,000 "high risk" residential buildings with more than 10 stories.

Read More>>


2017


18 December 2017

‘Culture change’ needed to building safety post-Grenfell

A ‘culture change’ in attitudes is needed to building safety to prevent further tragedies such as that at Grenfell Tower, according to Dame Judith Hackitt, responsible for leading the review into regulations and fire safety.

The report has now been published, and can be read here.

She told BBC Radio 4's Today programme people had to “commit to making buildings safer” instead of “simply doing things at least cost”.

She also criticised complex systems for making guidance harder to follow.

Dame Judith told the BBC it was a “combination” of the regulations and the people that should enforce them that was to blame for the fire.

Read More>>


17 November 2017

‘Outdated’ housing laws slammed in new post-Grenfell report

A new report commissioned by homeless charity Shelter and carried out by the University of Bristol and the University of Kent has criticised housing laws as ‘outdated, complex and patchily enforced’.

Researchers surveyed almost 1,000 people with a role in the housing sector, including tenants and landlords.

The research found that:

  • 85 per cent of professionals believe housing health and safety law is not fit for purpose, after years of neglect and deregulation
  • The official inquiry is ongoing, but failings in the law are likely to be a contributing factor in the Grenfell tragedy
  • Outdated laws have left social landlords unpoliced, unaccountable and free to ignore their tenants
  • Far too many families in social housing are left living in awful conditions and sometimes in outright danger because of this
  • A culture change is needed, with the state needing to accept responsibility for keeping people in social housing safe

Read More>>


13 November 2017

London Fire Brigade calls for qualifications and accreditation in fire industry

The London Fire Brigade (LFB) has warned that further disasters such as those which occurred at the Grenfell Tower could happen unless fire safety is treated more seriously.

The brigade made a series of recommendations to the body reviewing building regulations in the wake of the tragedy.

The LFB described the review as a "once in a generation" chance for change.

The brigade told the independent inquiry urgent action was needed to regulate those responsible for designing, constructing and maintaining buildings.

It said a loophole in the current arrangements allowed fire safety elements in buildings to be designed without any involvement from fire safety professionals.

Read More>>


14 June 2017

Grenfell Tower Fire: Statement from the Fire Sector Federation

The Fire Sector Federation (FSF) wishes send its condolences to all those affected by the Grenfell Tower tragedy. We also wish to praise the fire service for its prompt and professional response.

Although a fire on such a scale is unprecedented in the UK, there have been a number of similar incidents both here and around the world. The FSF has long expressed major concerns about the apparent disjoint in the processes which aim to ensure fire safety within the built environment, as well as concerns about the combustibility of certain modern building materials.

While we must wait for a full investigation into the cause of the fire and the reasons for such rapid fire spread in this tragic incident, the Fire Sector Federation will be continuing to campaign for improvements in fire safety legislation and in ensuring the safety of the public and our built environment.

Read More>>

 


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