The Hackitt Review: key recommendations at-a-glance
Inside Housing breaks down the key areas of the final report from Dame Judith Hackitt’s review of building regulations.
Dame Judith’s report, as tipped by Inside Housing, recommends a “new regulatory regime” for tower blocks. However, in a somewhat surprising move, this new regime will only apply to buildings with 10 storeys or more. The report does not explain specifically why this particular threshold has been chosen.
Up until now, building regulation guidance has drawn a distinction between buildings with fewer than six storeys and those with six storeys or more, recommending greater care be taken for fire safety on taller buildings.
Some have suggested that this places unnecessary risk on buildings with five storeys, and there had been calls for the limit to be reconsidered.
This would not remove current requirements for buildings with between six and nine storeys, but would leave in place the current framework. It is important, therefore, to note that the new changes apply only to buildings above 10 storeys.
Banning combustible materials
Despite numerous groups calling on Dame Judith to ban combustible material in cladding systems, her final report has stopped short of calling for such a measure.
She writes: “A totally prescriptive system creates an over-reliance on the system by those working within it, discouraging ownership and accountability for decisions.”
The report adds: “The aim of this review is to move away from telling those responsible [for tower blocks] ‘what to do’ and place them in a position of making intelligent decisions about the layers of protection required to make their particular building safe.”
However, after widespread outcry over this decision, the government decided to ignore Dame Judith’s suggestion and potentially do the opposite – announcing a consultation on banning combustibles just hours after her review published.
Large-scale testing regime
To reform the large-scale cladding testing regime, Dame Judith recommends that test houses should produce an annual report providing summary details of tests carried out and the number of passes and failures.
She does not, however, recommend any new oversight to the testing regime or that reports should be made public. At present, test reports are considered commercially confidential.