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10.29 17 May 2018


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Radical changes are needed to fix the "broken" British system of building regulations in the wake of the Grenfell Tower fire, a report has said.

A report into building regulations and fire safety in England calls for fundamental reform to improve safety and rebuild trust among those living in high-rise buildings.

It concluded that indifference and ignorance led to a "race to the bottom" on building safety practices, with cost put ahead of safety.

The report comes in the wake of the deadly fire at the west London tower block last June, which killed 71 people.

At the heart of the new system will be a requirement for the construction industry to take responsibility for delivering safe buildings, "rather than looking to others to tell them what is or is not acceptable".

File photo of the fire at Grenfell Tower in west London | Image: Natalie Oxford/PA Wire/PA Images

But the report has stopped short of calling for an outright ban on the flammable cladding - blamed by many for the spread of the fire - because it would "not address the root causes" of the problems in building regulations.

Speaking before the publication, author Judith Hackitt told the BBC her report would instead advocate greater clarity and tighter policing of existing guidance, which states cladding must be made of material of limited combustibility.

She also did not recommend a ban on so-called "desktop studies", assessments that can be used to approve cladding without physical fire safety tests taking place.

"The proposed change does not ban assessments in lieu of tests, as there are some products and systems for which a full-scale physical test is not possible, but it will significantly reduce their use and ensure that those which are carried out are conducted rigorously and properly recorded for further scrutiny," the report said.

It contains more than 50 recommendations.

Read the full report here


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