LFB shares regulations review submission

LFB shares regulations review submission

LONDON FIRE BRIGADE (LFB) told the review inquiry that building fire safety ‘must improve’, with ‘urgent action’ required.

BBC News and The Telegraph reported on LFB’s evidence given to the review of building regulations, led by Dame Judith Hackitt. Its main perspective was that ‘urgent action is needed to avoid serious building fires in the future’ like that at Grenfell Tower, with the inquiry told that a ‘lack of competence’ is allowing ‘dangerous decisions’ to be made on both building design and construction.

The review, it said, was a ‘once in a generation’ chance to change regulations, with the aforementioned urgent action ‘needed to regulate those responsible for designing, constructing and maintaining buildings’. One specific loophole in the regulations at present allows fire safety elements within buildings to be ‘designed without any involvement from fire safety professionals’, with LFB calling for ‘formal qualifications or accreditation’.

Those installing ventilation, smoke detectors and fire alarm systems should be accredited and qualified, while LFB asked for a ‘clampdown on companies that act as a building control body as well as providing fire safety advice – without any separation of the roles involved’. Finally, it called for the addressing of a ‘lack of a robust, independent on-site inspection programme to make sure fire safety elements were included in the finished design’.

Dan Daly, assistant commissioner for fire safety, commented: ‘It took a tragedy for everyone to take fire safety seriously and listen to what the brigade has been saying for years about skills. . Urgent action is needed to better regulate those who are responsible for ensuring a building's design, construction and maintenance are fit for purpose.

‘There are countless points where a dangerous decision can be made about a building's design or upkeep and hardly any measures to ensure that the people making those decisions are sufficiently experienced and properly qualified. This means that potentially dangerous design flaws could exist within a building until we either find it at a later date or, in the worst case scenario, it is exposed by a serious fire.

'We don't have the legal powers or the resources to check the entire fabric of a building but we often uncover dangerous flaws that we can't ignore. We recognise that this is a once in a generation opportunity to make buildings safer and are actively supporting the review process.’