Fundamental reform is needed to improve building safety

Despite calling for a ‘radical rethink’ of the safety system, Dame Judith Hackitt’s review of building regulations has controversially not urged for a ban on flammable cladding.

Set up after the Grenfell Tower fire tragedy of last year, the independent review has looked into an analysed regulations around the design, construction and management of buildings in relation to fire safety.

Following the fire last June, cladding on hundreds of buildings failed safety tests. In recent weeks, architects, building firms and Grenfell survivors had backed a ban on using combustible materials in construction, with the government announcing a £400 million fund to remove dangerous cladding from tower blocks owned by councils and housing associations.

Hackitt’s review states that ’simply adding more prescription, of making amendments to the current system, such as restricting or prohibiting certain practices, will not address the root causes’.

A separate judge-led inquiry into the Grenfell fire will start taking evidence on 21 May.

Lord Porter, chairman of the Local Government Association, said: “Our immediate priority is to ensure that a fire like that at Grenfell never happens again, and to make certain the buildings which people live, visit and work in are safe today. It is therefore disappointing that Dame Judith has stopped short of recommending a ban on combustible materials and the use of desktop studies, both essential measures to improve safety."

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