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DCLG: “strong response” received for building regs consultation

Independent review of fire safety and construction standards on schedule for spring publication as call for evidence closes

The deadline for responses to a consultation on the Independent Review of Building Regulations and Fire Safety has closed as planned last week with its final recommendations expected to be published on schedule next spring.

The Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) said that it has received a broad range of feedback and evidence by the October 13 deadline.  This evidence is expected to help steer the review process as part of efforts to overhaul the existing legal framework around building regulations.

“There has been a strong response to the call for evidence and Dame Judith Hackitt [who is overseeing the review] will now consider all these responses before submitting her interim report to ministers later this autumn,” said a spokesperson for DCLG.

“Dame Judith’s final report is due next spring and a summary of responses to the call for evidence will be published alongside this.”

BESA is among the organisations intending to submit responses to the call for evidence.  The organisation has asked its technical staff and members to provide feedback concerning building services functions and where improvements may be needed.

The association has previously said that the review was viewed as one of the most meaningful opportunities to address concerns and potential weaknesses in construction standards and compliance for a number of years. Former BESA technical director Tim Rook had earlier this year backed as broad a scope as possible for the review, while noting that factors such as sustainability must also be part of a holistic approach to rethinking how buildings are designed and built.

H&V News understands that some stakeholders working in the heating sector are hoping for very specific factors to be included in the review. This could potentially include best practice around fittings such as radiator components and valves.

Other bodies in the industry however have identified a need for stronger policing of compliance, as well as funding, as a key factor that should be addressed in the construction industry.

Terms of reference

The final terms of reference for the review will consider the existing legal framework for construction standards that includes issues such as smoke and carbon monoxide detection.

It will also look at building materials, testing and the design and procurement process for components.

According to the DCLG, the review will consider regulations and compliance issues on fire and safety for all buildings, although there will be a particular focus on multi-occupancy high rise residential buildings such as Grenfell Tower.

Large-scale cladding system testing undertaken by the government since the fire will also be studied to see if possible systemic failures can be identified and addressed.

The process will be conducted alongside, as well as play into, the public inquiry of the Grenfell Tower fire that is being overseen by retired judge Sir Martin Moore-Bick.

It is expected that while work continues on the review, the government will work with the chair of the process to identify more immediate potential changes that could be implemented to regulations.

More on the review process can be read in October’s digital edition of H&V News that can be read here.

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