Durability + Design
Follow us on Twitter Follow us on LinkedIn Like us on Facebook Follow us on Instagram Visit the TPC Store
Search the site

 

D+D News

Main News Page


Final UK Building Review Released

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

More items for Building Envelope

Comment | More

The highly anticipated government review of building regulations in the United Kingdom was released late last week by Dame Judith Hackitt, who said that industry indifference and ignorance, not the structure’s flammable cladding, led to the fatal Grenfell Tower fire last June.

The review was ordered last year in the wake of the London fire, which killed at least 70 people. The building’s cladding system was blamed for the fire’s rapid spread up the building, and after Hackitt released an interim report in December (that did not call for a materials ban), various groups urged her to consider looking again at the cladding.

ChiralJon, CC-SA-BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The highly anticipated government review of building regulations in the United Kingdom was released late last week by Dame Judith Hackitt, who said that industry indifference and ignorance, not the structure’s flammable cladding, led to the fatal Grenfell Tower fire last June.

The fact that the official report also stopped short of banning the use of the cladding had brought out reactions of anger among the Royal Institute of British Architects, some politicians and survivors.

The Report

Hackitt’s report said that “Restricting or prohibiting certain practices will not address the root causes,” which she says are ignorance about existing regulation and guidance; indifference about public safety; lack of clarity on the responsibility of roles; and inadequate rule enforcement.

The report went on to say that those issues created a “race to the bottom,” in which projects simply had the goal of being completed the quickest and the cheapest and the report recommended a new standards regulator as the center piece for a reformed system.

“This is most definitely not just a question of the specification of cladding systems but of an industry that has not reflected and learned for itself, nor looked to other sectors,” the report said. “This does not mean all buildings are unsafe.

“The debate continues to run about whether or not aluminum cladding is used for thermal insulation, weatherproofing or as an integral part of the fabric, fire safety and integrity of the building. This illustrates the siloed thinking that is part of the problem we must address. It is clear that in this type of debate the basic intent of fire safety has been lost.”

However, in an interview after the report was released, Hackitt said she would support a ban of materials if it was part of addressing the larger problem.

The official recommendation is for a new regulator called the “Joint Competent Authority,” which should be made up of local building officials, fire and rescue officials and health and safety officials. The key, though, is that it should be independent of building owners and it will approve designs prior to construction.

The Reaction

David Lammy, the MP for Tottenham, described the report as a “betrayal and a whitewash” and said it was “unthinkable” that so many people could die in a fire that was so destructive because of cladding and not have such cladding banned.

Natalie Oxford, CC-SA-BY 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The official recommendation is for a new regulator called the “Joint Competent Authority,” which should be made up of local building officials, fire and rescue officials and health and safety officials. The key, though, is that it should be independent of building owners and it will approve designs prior to construction.

Shahin Sadafi, chair of Grenfell United, noted that the group of survivors met with Hackitt and asked her to consider a ban and that the group is “disappointed and saddened that she didn’t listen to us.”

The feeling of disappointment was also expressed by RIBA Presidennt Ben Derbyshire, who said that everyone was looking to the review to bring “real and meaningful change.”

"We are extremely concerned that it has failed to act on the urgent need to immediately protect life safety through a more detailed program of simplified and improved regulations, standards and guidance,” he said.

The London Fire Brigade, however, agreed with the report findings, and Assistant Commissioner for Fire Safety Dan Daley said that while he understands why people would want a complete ban of the cladding, the Brigade thinks that the review looks at the bigger, long-term picture.

“It’s more important that the review concentrates on appropriate testing regimes for building materials, tighter regulations and ensuring that competent people are making decisions about building safety.”

The Inquiry

The completion of the building review ushers in the beginning of the public inquiry, which started on Monday (May 21).

The inquiry, which is expected to last for months, will look at technical issues surrounding the blaze, the design of the building, modifications made to the building and the scope and adequacy of regulations.

The first nine days of the inquiry, though, will consist of tributes to those who died, including personal statements and videos from family and friends.

   

Tagged categories: Accidents; Cladding; Fatalities; Fire; Government; Health and safety; Regulations; Safety

Comment Join the Conversation:

Sign in to our community to add your comments.

Advertisements
 
Novatek Corporation
 
Novatek Portable Air Filtration Systems
 
Air Scrubbers/Negative Air machines for restoration, abatement, dust & odor control, hazardous contaminant removal from job sites to clean rooms and hospitals. Portable, affordable!
 

 
Garland Company
 
Architectural Wall Coating Damproofs and Beautifies
 
Tuff-Coat™ multi-functional coating bridges hairline cracks, hides stains and discoloration, and reduces wall temperature, increasing the wall's life cycle.
 

 
Keim Mineral Coatings
 
Mineral Silicate Paints + Stains Fuse to Concrete
 
• Forms permanent chemical bonds
• Becomes part of the concrete
• Will never peel
• Looks completely natural
 

 
Shield Industries, Inc
 
FireGuard® E-84 Intumescent Coating - Shield Industries, Inc
 
Trust the certified protection of the industry’s most innovative intumescent coating FireGuard® E-84 to provide you with the 1 and 2 hour fire ratings you need.
 

 
Atlas Material Testing Technology
 
Helping You Put Your Products To The Test
 
  • Outdoor Accelerated Weathering
  • Laboratory Testing Services
  • Accelerated Weathering Instruments

  • www.atlas-mts.com
    atlas.info@ametek.com
 

 
 
 

Technology Publishing Co., 1501 Reedsdale Street, Suite 2008, Pittsburgh, PA 15233

TEL 1-412-431-8300  • FAX  1-412-431-5428  •  EMAIL webmaster@durabilityanddesign.com


The Technology Publishing Network

Durability + Design PaintSquare the Journal of Protective Coatings & Linings Paint BidTracker

 

© Copyright 2012-2018, Technology Publishing Co., All rights reserved