Hackitt: Criticism of review mounts
Criticism of Dame Judith Hackitt's review of Building Regulations and fire safety is mounting, after she stopped short of banning combustible cladding material in her final report.
The Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) called the review a "major missed opportunity" to make buildings safer immediately.
While it welcomed some of the review's findings, including plans to establish a Joint Competent Authority (JCA) to oversee a new fire safety regulatory framework for high-rise residential buildings, RIBA said it was "concerned" by the absence of clear baseline standards that would deliver clarity for the industry.
Immediate past president of RIBA and chair of the RIBA’s expert advisory group on fire safety, Jane Duncan said: "This was supposed to be a review of Building Regulations and fire safety following the tragedy at Grenfell Tower. It’s a thorough report on the current state of the regulatory system and construction industry, but it offers no changes whatsoever to the actual regulations or baseline guidance.
"Focusing on just a small number of very high buildings is a major missed opportunity."
She added: "By failing to ban the use of combustible materials and ‘desktop’ studies, or require use of sprinklers, the report’s recommendations will not deliver the immediate change that is needed to reassure and safeguard the public. We will be continuing to work with government to ensure that our recommendations are re-considered."
Meanwhile, the Local Government Association (LGA) also called Hackitt's decision not to recommend a ban on combustible materials as "disappointing".
Lord Porter, chairman of the Local Government Association, said: "It is good that Dame Judith’s report agrees that the current system is not fit for purpose and has set out a range of recommendations for its long-term reform.
“However, our immediate priority is to ensure that a fire like that at Grenfell never happens again, and to make certain the buildings which people live, visit and work in are safe today. It is therefore disappointing that Dame Judith has stopped short of recommending a ban on combustible materials and the use of desktop studies, both essential measures to improve safety."
He called on the government to act "without delay" to introduce a temporary ban on the use of combustible materials on complex and high-rise buildings.
Speaking on Radio 4's Today programme this morning, Hackitt said a ban "would not address the root causes" of the problem.
"I have tried to fix the system, irrespective of what the next problem might be, not just the problem with cladding," she said.