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Terms of reference finalised for UK building regulations review

Independent review will map existing construction legislation and set out required changes to ensure law is fit for purpose, particularly for high rise buildings

A review of current rules governing the planning, design, construction, maintenance, refurbishment and change management for both new and existing buildings is included among the final terms of reference for a new independent review announced following the Grenfell Tower fire.

The independent review of building regulations and fire safety, announced last month by the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG), is expected to take a “twofold” approach to examine construction standards.

This focus will consider recommendations to create a stronger regulatory environment for the UK, while also ensuring residents are confident that the buildings in which they live are safe and will be maintained that way.

Dame Judith Hackitt, current Chair of EEF, the Manufacturers’ Organisation, will be leading this work.

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.

“The review will report jointly to Communities Secretary Sajid Javid and Home Secretary Amber Rudd. An interim report will be submitted in autumn 2017 and a final report submitted in spring 2018,” said DCLG in statement.

As part of understanding broader regulatory considerations across government, DCLG said it will seek input from other Whitehall departments about the implications for other key objectives such as housing supply and rent.

The review is intended to consider the following factors among its core outcomes:

  • The competencies, duties and responsibilities of ensuring adherence to fire safety standards
  • How best to ensure regulations are fit for purpose - specifically in the case of high-rise residential properties
  • Determine if the current regulatory system is theoretically coherent and understand how it operates in practice

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