Industry bodies to support Grenfell response group
Thirty six professional bodies in the built environment – including the CIOB – have pledged to support a new DCLG Industry Response Group established in the wake of the Grenfell fire.
Working together within the CIC, the built environment professions have agreed to:
- Provide full support and a wide range of expertise to the Department for Communities and Local Government’s [DCLG] Independent Expert Advisory Panel;
- Be an active member of the Industry Response Group, established by government to review the solutions to ensure buildings are safe and the supply chain capability to cope with a rapid upsurge in remedial and refurbishment work that is likely to follow the Grenfell tragedy;
- Participate in the DCLG review of standards and regulations;
- Develop a systemic review of the procurement, design, construction and management of housing and buildings in which people live, in order to provide practical solutions for improvement with particular regard to fire safety, and
- Consider the application of these solutions to other building types.
These recommendations came from a meeting of 50 representatives of 36 professional bodies in the built environment, held at the RICS earlier this month, under the joint chairmanship of Professor John Nolan (chairman of CIC) and Turlogh O’Brien CBE (a former chairman of CIC, now chairman of the Chartered Institute of Housing and recently appointed to chair the CIC Expert Panel set up in the wake of the Grenfell tragedy).
Multi-disciplinary, expert groups will be established from among the professional bodies and other organisations of experts to contribute to a systemic review of the procurement, design, construction and management of housing and buildings in which people live, in order to provide practical solutions for improvement with particular regard to fire safety.
The exact scope of the expert groups will be determined over the next fortnight. In addition to providing expert support to the DCLG’s Expert Panel and the Industry Response Group (alongside Build UK and the Construction Products Association), it is intended that the final report will be provided to the Grenfell Tower Inquiry team.
On behalf of the CIC, Professor Nolan opened the meeting by saying: “The built environment community – from designers to manufacturers, architects, engineers, contractors and landlords – were devastated by the loss of life that resulted from the Grenfell Tower disaster. Our thoughts remain with those who have lost loved ones and those who now find themselves facing the struggle to get settled into new homes and surroundings.
“It is incumbent upon all of us who are involved in procuring, designing, constructing, inspecting and managing housing and buildings to leave no stone unturned in addressing the issues, brought into such horrifying focus, by the Grenfell disaster; and to do so on the basis of evidence and research, but with appropriate speed.”
O’Brien said: “Professionals from across the built environment community are ideally placed to provide practical and considered insight to the review.
“The built environment professions have agreed to work together to use their diverse skills, knowledge and experience to support the work of the public inquiry, together with legislators and regulators, as they work through what needs to be done to ensure higher standards of fire safety.”
The CIC will extend the scope of the inquiry to cover other building types once the original work on buildings in which people live is complete.
The work is being endorsed by the Construction Leadership Council.
The industry response group (IRG) will complement the work of the Independent Expert Advisory Panel (IEAP) established in June 2017 by government to advise on immediate steps to ensure building safety.
After the initial step of offering a service to building owners to identify the type of aluminium composite material (ACM) cladding on high rise buildings, the government has commissioned the Building Research Establishment to undertake further tests.
These will help establish how different types of ACM panels in combination with different types of insulation behave in a fire.
The group will include representatives from three major industry bodies in the UK:
- Build UK – the leading representative organisation for the construction industry.
- Construction Industry Council – the representative forum for the professional bodies, research organisations and specialist business associations for professional services providers in the construction industry.
- Construction Products Association – the UK’s manufacturers and distributors of construction products and materials.
The three organisations will lead and coordinate contributions from across the sector.