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Dame Judith Hackitt to advise on new building safety regulator

Key figure who oversaw Independent Review of Building Regulations and Fire Safety will now provide advice on formation of new regulator with powers to impose criminal sanctions

The government has appointed Dame Judith Hackitt as an independent advisor in its work to introduce a new building safety regulator.

Dame Judith, who led work on a major Independent Review of Building Regulations and Fire Safety following the Grenfell Tower Fire, is expected to help steer the formation of the new regulator and help determine how it could function. One of the stated aims of introducing the new body is to grant it powers to apply criminal sanctions in the case of violations of standards and regulations.

Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick made the announcement this week as a means of building on the findings from Dame Judith’s review that was published last year. The review demanded wide ranging reforms to address a number of critical concerns about the Building Regulations, their enforcement and how public concerns about construction work are listened to and dealt with.

Part of the new body’s focus will be to look at the design and management of buildings and ensure that key regulations standards are enforced.

Mr Jenrick said he was grateful that Dame Judith had therefore agreed to take an advisory role on the new building safety regulator.

He said, “Her expertise will be essential to forming a strong regulator with teeth to ensure all residents are safe, and feel safe, in their homes both now and in the future.”

The Queen’s Speech that was delivered earlier this month outlined creation of a new building regulator as being among the government’s main priorities for the latest parliament.

However, a General Election that is now scheduled for 12 December could see these priorities changing in the New Year.

BESA chief executive David Frise said earlier this month that the proposals for a new regulator, one with fresh powers to enforce standards and issue criminal sanctions for breaches, was potentially transformative for industry if properly consulted on.

He said, “If done right and in close consultation with the industry, the proposed new building regulation regime could cement a better culture of competence and compliance within the industry, and crucially, save lives.”

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