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ARCH annual report

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The ARCH annual report for 2015-16 is now available to view.

 

Download it here.

Independent Review of Building Regulations & Fire Safety 04/01/2018 Labelled as Scrutiny, Regulation

The interim report of the Independent Review of Building Regulations and Fire Safety led by Dame Judith Hackitt was published on 18 December.

 

The independent Review of Building Regulations and Fire Safety is being led by Dame Judith Hackitt. Its purpose is to make recommendations that will ensure we have a sufficiently robust regulatory system for the future and to provide further assurance to residents that the complete system is working to ensure the buildings they live in are safe and remain so. It is examining the building and fire safety regulatory system, with a focus on high-rise residential buildings.

 

The work of the Review to date has found that the current regulatory system for ensuring fire safety in high rise buildings is not fit for purpose. This applies throughout the life cycle of a building, both during construction and occupation, and is a problem connected both to the culture of the construction industry and the effectiveness of the regulators.

 

Dame Judith's principle finding that the regulatory system is not fit for purpose chimes with the view that ARCH expressed at the time the terms of reference for the Independent Review were first announced at the beginning of August 2017 when we said:"The latest in the series of fire safety tests by the Building Research Establishment show that the buildings that have so far failed these tests are owned by a range of different owners across the country and not just local authorities. This would seem to point to a systemic failure of the system of building regulation…"

 

The Interim Report falls short of making specific recommendations for change instead setting out the direction of travel for changes to the regulatory system covering six broad areas:

 

  • Regulation & guidance
  • Roles & responsibilities
  • Competence
  • Process, compliance and enforcement
  • Residents' voice and raising concerns
  • Quality assurance and products

 

For those landlords that may have been waiting for any recommendations to emerge from the Review on the specific materials to be used to replace ACM cladding and/or recommendations on the retro-fitting of sprinkler systems and other specific fire safety measures, the report is lacking in such specific recommendations.  However Dame Judith goes on to say:

 

"We know that many owners and landlords are taking responsibility and initiating remedial work where required. But even now I am aware that some building owners and landlords are waiting for direction from this review on what materials should be used to replace cladding that has been identified as inadequate. I would urge them not to wait but to consider what materials have already been identified and tested as safe. They must also take steps to ensure that those whom they commission to carry out any remedial works are competent to do the work and that the work is quality assured"  

 

Dame Judith has said her interim report is a"call to action for an entire industry and those parts of government that oversee it"and has invited comments and feedback on the interim report. She has also announced the intention to hold a summit of key stakeholders early in 2018 to discuss taking this work forward in advance of producing her final report and recommendations later in the year.

 

The ARCH Board will be considering the report at its meeting on the 15 January and the ARCH Tenant Group will be asked to consider in particular the issues identified in the report around "Residents' voice and raising concerns" and how residents can be reassured that an effective system is in place to maintain safety in their home and a clear, quick and effective route for residents' concerns to be addressed.

 

If any ARCH members have views and comments on the report that they would like to feed into the ARCH response please forward these to ARCH Chief Executive John Bibby (john.bibby@arch-housing.org.uk)

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