Local council leaders are calling for an “urgent and immediate” review of the building regulations in the wake of the Grenfell Tower disaster.
Local Government Association chairman Lord Porter said: “Following on from the Grenfell Tower tragedy, we want the Government to begin an urgent and immediate review of building regulations.”
“We cannot wait for the result of the public inquiry or coroner’s report before this review is started.
“We have to act based on what we know now, while being prepared to revisit the building regulations again in the future if any additional lessons need to be learned.
“There is complexity and confusion in the current system that must be addressed and local government must play a central role in this review from the outset.
“The review needs to consider how easy it is to use, comply with and understand the building regulations and the associated documents supporting them, particularly those relating to the installation of cladding and insulation on external walls of buildings and how the building control, fire safety and planning regimes interact.
“Councils will do whatever it takes to ensure our residents are all safe in their homes.
“We have been clear all along that entire cladding panels and the insulation behind them need to be fire tested together as a system, rather than just the core of the panels on their own, and are also pleased these much-needed changes to the testing process will now happen.
“It is vital that we get this right and this whole-system testing needs to happen as soon as possible.”
Lord Porter also criticised the Building Research Establishment (BRE), contractors and manufacturers for not being completely open about previous tests.
He said: “We are concerned that the BRE, carrying out safety tests, does not feel able to release the results of previous cladding system tests, as these are deemed commercially confidential.
“If the public are going to have faith in this fire safety testing process then everything needs to be out in the open.
“It is no time for contractors or manufacturers to withhold test results from both councils and the public.
“The industry and BRE needs to waive this confidentiality in the public interest to assist the Government and councils in gathering as complete a picture as possible of what is and is not acceptable in cladding systems.
“These are exceptional circumstances when not only the safety of thousands of residents, but also the peace of mind of many more, is at stake.”
UK Construction Week is planning a series of free workshops focusing on fire prevention and safety.
The one hour CPD-certified sessions will be held at the show at Birmingham NEC from 10 – 12 October.
-Building Regulations – an update and interpretation
-Fire Prevention – guidance on sprinklers, fire doors, dampening
-Flammable Building Materials – looking at cladding and other materials and latest advice
-Health & Safety – knowing your responsibilities and up to date guidance on the latest legislation
-Improving Safety through Technology
Nathan Garnett, Event Director, said: “In light of recent tragic events in London, and the fact that there are millions of square metres of building space being refurbished, refitted and built right now, the industry must act swiftly to decipher the latest guidance and advice by separating the facts from the fiction.
“By collaborating with the authorities and professional bodies, we at UK Construction Week have responded with a series of free, CPD certified workshops to address the latest issues and provide the facts from people the industry knows and can trust.”
Due to the expected high demand, places will be allocated on a first come, first served basis.