UK Building Fire Regulation Review: Terms Announced
An independent review has been commissioned by the British Government to urgently assess the current effectiveness of building and fire-safety regulations. This is after at least 80 people lost their lives as a result of a fire in the Grenfell Tower apartment block in North Kensington, London.
Multi-Occupancy High-Rise Residential Buildings
The review, published by the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG), will consider any compliance and enforcement issues relating to safety regulations. Although the review will cover the regulatory systems for all buildings, it will predominantly focus on multi-occupancy high-rise residential buildings.
The report will also address whether the large-scale cladding system testing programme, ran by the Government, identified any potential failures before the fire took place.
The key priorities of the review will be developing a better regulatory system for new and existing buildings, and to reassure residents in high-rise residential buildings that their current homes are safe and will remain safe.
Dame Judith Hackitt: Her Background and Role in the Review
The review will be led by Dame Judith Hackitt, who is a qualified engineer with a strong background in regulatory experience. She is set to review and consider opinions from international experts, fire-service professionals, local government, and MPs.
Communities Secretary Sajid Javid and Home Secretary Amber Rudd will both analyse the review which will be completed in spring 2018. Javid said:
“We must learn the lessons of the Grenfell Tower tragedy and ensure that a fire like this cannot happen again.
“Following the fire, I commissioned a series of large scale tests, which have raised the question of whether there have been potential systemic failures within the building regulatory and fire safety system.
“This independent review led by Dame Judith Hackitt will address any potential failures and recommend how we ensure the whole building regulations and fire safety system is robust. I am determined that we do everything possible to make people safe and to ensure that they feel safe.”
What Can Property Developers Do To Ensure The Safety of their Buildings?
When designing, planning and maintaining a property, there are steps developers can take to ensure their building follows the correct framework of regulations and their residents are safe from fire.
It is incredibly important to check the internal and external structure of a property to assess if it is able to resist and control the spread of smoke and fire if a blaze was to occur. Working with the correct materials for lining partitions, walls, ceilings and other internal parts of a property’s structure can significantly decrease the spread and growth of a fire.
The overall structure of a property must also be protected. Fire doors and walls are essential in preventing risk, and mapping out and protecting an exit route during the development of a building is essential.
Once a property has been completed, developers must legally make sure that there is:
- A smoke alarm on every storey;
- A carbon monoxide detector in every room that contains a fuel-burning appliance (i.e. boilers, cookers, fireplaces, and gas heaters)
- Developers should also consider providing flame curtains, fire shutters and automatic fire-suppression systems.
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