Dame Judith Hackitt’s report on Building industry Regulations and Fire Safety: Building a Safer Future, due out this week, will expand on the December 2017 interim report which found that, “The current regulatory system for ensuring fire safety in high-rise and complex buildings is not fit for purpose. This applies throughout the life-cycle of a building, both during construction and occupation, and is a problem connected both to the culture of the construction industry and the effectiveness of the regulators.”
The interim report identified six key areas for urgent action: regulation and guidance; roles and responsibilities; competence; process, compliance and enforcement; residents’ voice and raising concerns and Quality Assurance and products.
Colin Lawson, Head of Product Development, Sales & Marketing, Tamlite Lighting comments:
“There cannot have been anyone in the UK whose heart did not go out to the victims and the families of those killed in the Grenfell Tower fire on 14th June 2017. It will take many years to recover from the effects on the community, residents and the emergency services. It also deeply affected those in the construction industry and supply chain who share responsibility for the safety of our homes and places of work, along with local government, regulators and legislators.
“At Tamlite Lighting we are most concerned with how the lighting industry can play its part in using its influence to ensure the highest levels of safety and accountability. Dame Judith’s interim report said that “primary responsibility for ensuring that buildings are fit for purpose must rest with those who commission, design and build the project”, but what does that mean in practice for the lighting industry?
“The industry must play its part; it can’t sit back and wait for central government to legislate. We must come together with our colleagues across the lighting and construction supply chain to share knowledge, encourage ongoing training and testing, adopt best practice behaviours, and develop a fully-accountable system for the life-cycle of buildings as a whole and not just for our own separate areas of ‘responsibility’. We can’t just aim for minimum compliance, but provide leadership especially regarding responsibility and competence.
“While the lighting industry already adheres to stringent Quality Assurance standards in which products are properly tested and certified, there needs to be clarity on where ultimate responsibility lies – with the designer, specifier, installer or building owner.”
In addition the industry must be more proactive to ensure oversight of the quality of installation. According to the interim report “This is one area where England and Wales appears to be lagging behind many other parts of the world that require key personnel throughout the system to be properly trained, assessed and in many cases licensed to carry out specific roles.”
Mr Lawson concludes, “It is up to all of us in construction, to play our part, to build a culture of responsibility, of doing more than cutting costs to the bone, or simply complying with the relevant regulations on safety or sustainability. As we near the first anniversary of this tragedy, it should go without saying that the events of that awful night in June 2017 should never be repeated.”