Hackitt criticises industry’s lack of building safety action but praises CPA work

Dame Judith Hackitt has expressed “serious concern” over a lack of take-up by the construction industry of tools and frameworks that have been developed to make high-rise residential buildings safer following the Grenfell Tower disaster.

Hackitt’s comments came in the third annual reportfrom the Industry Safety Steering Group (ISSG), formed in 2018 following the publication of the final report of Hackitt’s Independent Review of Building Regulations and Fire Safety, Building a Safer Future.

Over the past three years, the ISSG has met every three months and engaged with parts of the supply chain that deliver residential high-rise buildings in a bid to drive culture change.

But Hackitt said there was a “mixed picture” in terms of the industry’s response, with some organisations making “excellent progress” while others are “holding back” until they see more detail and are required to make changes as a result of legislation.

Hackitt said: “It has been crystal clear to many of us from the outset that legislation alone will not deliver the outcomes we are looking for. The culture of the industry itself must change to one which takes responsibility for delivering and maintaining buildings which are safe for those who use them.”

Hackitt highlighted the “huge amount of work” undertaken by third sector bodies in the sector to drive change, including work by the Considerate Constructors Scheme to establish the Building a Safer Future Charter and working with the Construction Products Association on the Code for Construction Product Information.

But she warned: “The lack of take-up of these vehicles is a serious concern. To date only a small number of the usual players have committed to be part of the Building a Safer Future Charter and all that it entails and we have heard repeatedly that there is a low level of demand for training despite the well-known issues around competence across many key disciplines.”

Hackitt challenged key players in the construction industry to make a “significant intervention… to stand up and demonstrate leadership”.

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