Less than a week after the tragedy of the Grenfell Tower fire, the 50 professional organisations in membership of the Construction Industry Council, agreed that systemic change was required to both the processes of construction and the regulatory regime within which UK construction takes place.
In the past six months’, CIC priorities have been aligned to achieving this change.
This included making a detailed submission to Dame Judith Hackitt’s Review of Building Regulations and Fire Safety, a copy of which can be viewed here:
CIC has also been developing further work to analyse the culture change required and the recommendations needed to create the necessary behavioural change and has set up an expert panel and six sub-groups looking at skills, procurement, planning and building regulations, design and specification, on site and management in use.
The content of Dame Judith’s interim report bears much similarity to the direction of travel identified within CIC and is warmly welcomed by the CIC and its members, representing the built environment professions, working closely together.
The CIC Expert Panel meets on 21 December to consider the interim report in more detail, following which a roundtable of all CIC members will be held at the RICS on 15 January 2018. The CIC looks forward to working closely with Dame Judith, the DCLG and other industry partners in terms of making the change that is necessary.
Professor John Nolan, chairman of CIC and formerly President of the Institution of Structural Engineers, welcomed the direction of the Interim Report on behalf of all CIC members, saying: “Within a few days of the Grenfell tragedy, all of the professional bodies in the built environment came together at a meeting of the Council and all agreed that there was a need for systemic change across the industry and a root-and-branch review of the regulatory system. We congratulate Dame Judith for her interim report, which mirrors the views that have developed within CIC over the past six months and we very much look forward to working with Dame Judith and the DCLG in carrying this work forward into action and change”.
The Chairman of the CIC After-Grenfell Panel on Life Safety, Turlogh O’Brien CBE, noted that the key themes emerging from the interim report are consistent with the consensus views emerging from the CIC members: “The focus on achieving unambiguous responsibility for life safety at all stages of a project – from planning and design, through construction and onto occupation – is a key recommendation from CIC members and something we wish to work towards achieving. We welcome unconditionally the emphasis on cultural and behavioural change”.
Graham Watts OBE, the CIC Chief Executive, has been a member of the DCLG post-Grenfell Industry Response Group since its establishment at the end of June, and is chairing a working group looking at the qualifications, competences and accreditation of fire safety consultants and fire risk assessors giving advice and assessments on buildings over 18m tall. He also welcomed Dame Judith’s interim report saying: “I applaud Dame Judith’s insighful and frank assessment of the headline issues that must be tackled and her emphasis on the need for more work on responsibilities for life safety and on competence and accreditation. She has made it clear that the current system is not fit for purpose and that the industry needs to step up to the plate to make the necessary changes. The profesional bodies in the built environment – our members – stand ready to support the next phase of this essential work”.