Housing minister issues Grenfell update

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The ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government has released a statement outlining the steps it has taken in response to Dame Judith Hackitt’s independent review of building regulations and fire safety.

It acknowledges the need for mass reforms on a structural level and has also released two new consultations to pursue this reform.

The report outlines the government’s commitment to the “change in culture” called for in Dame Judith Hackitt’s ‘Building a Safer Future’ report, issued in May, and stated that Approved Document B, a document clarifying clear building regulations and fire safety guidance has now been issued for consultation here.

James Brokenshire Secretary of State for Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government, issuing the statement, said the government will also ‘introduce a mandatory requirement on landlords in the private rented sector to ensure electrical installations in their property are inspected every five years’. This will help, he said, to ‘drive up standards across the private rented sector and reduce deaths and injuries due to electric shocks and fires caused by electric faults’.

The minister also announced that the government will carry out a wider technical review of the guidance on fire safety in Autumn.

The statement also:

  • Announced the creation of a new independent ‘Fire Standard’s Board’ directed at making fire services more ‘accountable, effective and professional’

  • Stated the intention to set up a residents’ ‘reference panel’ for the life of the Building Safety Programme to indicate the government’s ‘commitment to residents’ and also to ensure that ‘policy is grounded in the experiences of those who live in high-rise buildings’

  • Started work with building control bodies, National Fire Chiefs Council, the Health and Safety Executive and others to consider options for a Joint Competent Authority and stronger regime as per the recommendations in the report, and will set out our implementation plan in the autumn.

  • Said that proposals to restrict or ban the use of so-called desk top studies (assessments in lieu of tests) for cladding materials, as recommended by Hackitt, has been consulted on and a second consultation on banning combustible materials in the exterior wall construction of high-rise buildings has also been launched.

He said, ‘as Dame Judith acknowledged, delivering fundamental system reform – including changes to the law – will take time’: “But we can, and must, start changing the culture and practice right now. We are therefore delivering key elements of the report.

“The Government is committed to learning lessons from the Grenfell fire and delivering far-reaching change to ensure similar devastation cannot happen again,” he said. 




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