Dame Hackitt pulls no punches

Elmhurst were delighted to attend and exhibit at this year's CABE (Chartered Association of Building Engineers) conference to promote the activities of members.

The highlight of the event was the keynote speech from Dame Judith Hackitt who spoke candidly about her review of building regulations in light of the horrors of the Grenfell House fire.

Dame Hackitt was unapologetic for not having forced the ban of flammable cladding because it as her remit to consider the framework for regulations for regulations that allowed this disaster to happen. It was others that had the job, and powers, to implement a short term fix.

What Dame Hackitt did say, and pulling no punches, that;

  • current penalties for non compliance were "not worth a candle"
  • the current structure of the regulations and Approved Documents created a silo mentality.
  • Scotland's method of building control was cited as an exemplar of how to think of the building as a system, not a disparate collection of components.
  • She condemned a process that allows a manufacturer to develop a product, to test it ten times before it can be made to pass and then use that one certificate to sell the product for the next ten years.
  • The industry should expect the whole regulatory framework to be change radically. The current focus on high rise dwellings should be considered a first phase.
  • Developers need to focus on good design and then make sure that good design is maintained through the construction process. "If food and car manufacturers can have traceability of materials, why can't builders".
  • Regulatory compliance should be policed by a central "Joint Competent Authority" and whilst that may involve Authorised Inspectors (AIs) they should ever be allowed to provide consultancy and regulatory sign off for the same building. "No developer should ever be able to choose their regulator".

Elmhurst were delighted to be a partner of CABE. By actively participating in their conference we had the opportunity to keep up to speed with current government thinking, to see first hand what is new in our industry and to promote the work of members to this influential group of engineers.

Article Published: 5th October 2018

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