Freelance journalist

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Jamie Hailstone is a freelance journalist and author, who has also contributed to numerous national business titles including Utility Week, the Municipal Journal, Environment Journal and consumer titles such as Classic Rock.
March 16, 2018

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Hackitt to consider more prescriptive approach to building regulations

MPs have welcomed comments by Dame Judith Hackitt about the need for a more prescriptive approach to building regulation.

In a letter to the communities and local government select committee, Dame Judith, who chairs the independent review of building regulations and fire safety, said she wants to “create a culture” where there is a clear focus on “building and maintaining safety throughout the lifetime of buildings”.

“I do agree that there is a need for some prescription within regulations and guidance, but it is a system with clear roles and responsibilities, clear permission points and strong enforcement and sanctions that will drive the culture change towards intelligent thinking that will in turn deliver safe building outcomes,” wrote Dame Judith.

Testing electrical appliances

In January, the chair of the committee, Clive Betts,wrote to Dame Judith, calling on her to reconsider her view that the review should not examine the current regime for testing domestic electrical appliances.

The letter also urged her to also undertake an examination of Part P of the building regulations.

In her reply, Dame Judith said the review would be limited to products that form an “integral part of the fabric of the building”, as opposed to appliances.

Cladding

And turning to the use of cladding materials, she said there is currently a choice between using products of “limited combustibility” or undergoing a full-system test.

“For the future, my view is clear that the former is undoubtedly the low-risk option,” wrote Dame Judith.

“Where the person undertaking the work chooses the latter option, not only must they ensure that the full system is tested, but they must also ensure that the potential risks are mitigated by ensuring the system is properly installed and maintained throughout its life cycle.”

Comments welcomed

Speaking after the letter was published, Mr Betts welcomed her comments that some degree of prescription was required.

“It’s telling that Dame Judith herself noted that current views varied as to whether the regulations permit the use of combustible materials in the cladding of high-rise buildings,” said the committee chair.

“I have raised this in a series of parliamentary questions over the last month, and am yet to receive a satisfactory answer from the Government.”

The interim Hackitt report, published in January, was widely backed by the fire industry.

The final report is expected to be published in the Spring.

This article was originally published on SHP Online

 

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Ian Abley
Ian Abley
April 3, 2018 8:36 am

Your article attributes a comment to Judith Hackitt – “And turning to the use of cladding materials, she said there is currently a choice between using products of “limited combustibility” or undergoing a full-system test.” That is simply not true. This is the False Assertion that the DCLG/MHCLG has promulgated, and which is often uncritically repeated. The Approved Document Part B Volume 2 does NOT require cladding of Limited Combustibility. It requires the surface of external walls to be Class 0 (Defined by Paragraph 13) or Class B (as tests identified in BS EN 13501-1), or less in lower height… Read more »