The Building Safety Programme
The Building Safety Programme is implementing the recommendations of the Hackitt Report which was commissioned following the Grenfell Tower tragedy. The Building Safety Programme is primarily aimed at implementing regulatory change to make multi-storey residential buildings safer for residents.
To date the programme has resulted in:
- Changes to the Building Regulations and Approved Document B Guidance on cladding and sprinkler requirements for multi-storey residential buildings
- The Fire Safety Act – changes are almost exclusively applied to multi-storey residential buildings
- The Building Safety Bill – changes are almost exclusively to multi-storey residential buildings
If the Building Safety Programme only results in regulatory changes for residential buildings, there will still be the possibility of another fire tragedy in another building type – such as a large warehouse /factory, school or institutional building.
Furthermore, leaving the scope of the Fire Safety Building Regulations as limited to “life safety” means that the expected building standard will remain: “evacuation before collapse”.
Instead, the Government should use the Building Safety Programme, and specifically the Building Safety Bill, to make buildings more resilient to fire so that all buildings of the future are safer and sustainable. This can be achieved by making life safety and also property protection a consideration of the Fire Safety Building Regulations. This action would reduce the cost of fire which is currently estimated to be £9 billion each year. Much of this £9 billion borne is currently by communities and the public purse as a consequence of lost workplaces and jobs, lost productivity, lost tax revenue, transport and community disruption and environmental damage.