Hackitt concerned recommendations ‘will fall away’

Hackitt concerned recommendations ‘will fall away’

DAME JUDITH Hackitt gave warnings at a fire safety seminar that the industry should not ‘let Grenfell slip off the agenda’, and is worried ‘we will not respond appropriately to change this broken system’.

24Housing reported on Dame Judith’s speech, in which she stated that despite ‘the fact the Review is complete and the recommendations are being implemented – all of them – I’m delighted to say by the Government, I think it’s really important we keep this dialogue going because the longer we go post-Grenfell, the more concerned I become that we will allow this to fall away and we will not respond appropriately to change this broken system of ours.

‘We must rebuild the trust that residents, and the public more generally, no longer have in us and in the system to provide them with somewhere safe to live’. She added that residents ‘have a right to know about the condition of the building they are living in and that will be an integral part of the process of regular reporting, on the condition of the buildings and sharing that information with residents’.

Residents ‘need to know what the critical safety features are and there needs to be a system in place for them to raise their concerns and to know that they’re going to get them listened to and acted upon. What’s most important is that none of us should be doing it because the law tells us we have to.

‘The reason we should be doing this, and the reason we need to engage and involve residents is because we’ve let them down and we have to rebuild trust and confidence in all of us, and in the whole system so that they not only feel safe, but that they’re really part of the system. Not so that they feel that things are just done to them, or that they’re ignored, or that they’re not valued and don’t matter’.

Residents ‘do matter. They matter a lot. We’re talking about their homes and communities. We owe it to them to rebuild confidence and trust and help them to feel safe’. The final report was released in May last year, after her review of building regulations and fire safety was launched in 2017 after the Grenfell Tower fire, and its interim review released in December 2017.

That had found that a ‘universal shift in culture’ is needed to rebuild trust ‘among residents of high-rise buildings’. This is also required to ‘significantly improve the way that fire safety is assured’, and the report calls on the construction industry, building owners, regulators and government to ‘come together’ to address ‘shortcomings’.

The final report called for a ‘radical rethink’ of the fire safety system, and stated that a ‘genuine’ culture change was required in the building sector, recommending that a new regulator be set up to ‘oversee the construction and management of buildings’. This would be the Joint Competent Authority, comprising building standards, fire and rescue authorities and the Health and Safety Executive.