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BESA welcomes Hackitt Review focus on skills and 'whole life' of building

Building services body stresses positve move away from tick box culture

BESA (The Building Engineering Services Association) has welcomed the interim report reviewing the Building Regulations from Dame Judith Hackitt.

The need for future regulations to focus on the whole lifecycle of buildings and for the industry to sharpen up on skills and competence were particularly welcome, the Association said.

The Review, chaired by Dame Judith Hackitt, has identified systemic failings in the way construction projects are designed, delivered and managed.

She also urged the industry to take a lead on improving its procedures and not wait for the government to tell it what to do.

BESA welcomed the fact that the Review had resisted the temptation to make headline grabbing specific prescriptive demands, but was instead focused on overhauling the whole process, which would have more profound and far reaching consequences.

David Frise, head of sustainability at BESA said: “Dame Judith’s vision of an outcome-based model for our regulations is a significant and extremely positive change, The current ‘tick box’ regulatory approach stifles innovation and encourages the industry simply to design for compliance with a system that is poorly enforced anyway. Moving away from that could fire up the culture change the Review is seeking.”

The body welcomed the Review’s identification of a major failing in that construction regularly starts before building control has signed off the design or is too far advanced for recommended fire safety work to be incorporated. The building’s quality is then further undermined by the lack of meaningful penalties for anyone found to be in breach of the regulations.

Mr Frise said: “Changing to output-based regulations means that it will no longer be about what you promised to deliver, but what you actually deliver that counts. This should be reinforced by financial (and sometimes criminal) penalties that are far greater than the benefits you can get from cutting corners.”

The industry already has a range of third party accredited competent person schemes in place that can support Dame Judith’s call for a more robust method of establishing professional competence, he added.

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