Tomorrow I am attending the British Property Federation (BPF)'s seminar 'Building a Safer Future'. It is described as a "milestone event" focusing on the Government's proposals to overhaul the regulatory system in response to Dame Judith Hackitt's Independent Review of Building Regulations and Fire Safety (May 2018) . I am looking forward to it very much.
I have, since the dreadful disaster at Grenfell Tower in June 2017, attended a number of industry sector seminars looking at what can (indeed does) go wrong when procuring, designing, building, maintaining and refurbishing high-rise buildings. I have listened to a wide range of speakers, including building inspectors, designers, specialist contractors, fire safety experts and retired fire fighters. Everyone has had a contribution to make and I have, I hope, come away from each seminar a little more the wiser.
The Government's proposals are to apply to all new multi-occupied residential buildings over 18m , or six storeys in height. Parts of the new regime are also to apply to existing buildings above these height thresholds. And we all should by now be aware of the Government's announcement on the banning of combustible cladding on new high-rise buildings over 18m in height with effect from 21 December 2018.
There are many more proposals and the Government's consultation closes at 11.45pm on the 31st of this month. You can find the consultation at www.gov.uk under the tab 'Consultations'.
Today's Guardian's article regarding fire-risk fridge freezers (let's not forget tumble dryers either) is perhaps a useful reminder that the updating and revising of the building regulations is just one key step that must be taken. Much more is needed if we are to prevent another disaster as happened in 2017 at Grenfell (faulty fridge-freezer) and at Lakanal House in 2009 (faulty TV). I very much hope tomorrow's BPF seminar takes a similar approach.
The Grenfell Tower fire started in a fridge freezer with flammable plastic backing, and an electrical fire expert said in a report for the inquiry that plastic casing was combustible and would contribute to the spread of a blaze.