Bureau Veritas has responded to the Government’s endorsement of Dame Judith Hackett’s Interim Report on Building Regulations and Fire Safety, which was launched following the Grenfell Tower disaster last year.
In a letter sent to local authorities and approved inspectors in February, the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government backed the independent review and the proposed changes to improve fire safety.
As a leading provider of Building Control services to organisations across the UK, Bureau Veritas has been heavily involved in this process review and we fully support the recommendations. In fact, recognising the challenges faced by the construction industry, our Construction Consultancy division is already working with clients to advise where improvements can be made in line with the findings of the interim report.
These include a number of guidelines and processes identified in the report, many of which are already delivered as part of our best practice approach, including:
• Early, proactive and collaborative working with the design team to discuss all aspects of building control. Typically this would involve detailed, regulation-specific workshops and meetings
• Facilitating an early fire strategy review with the relevant Fire Authority
• A fully transparent plan assessment process, supported by clear and concise trackers which are updated regularly
• A thorough review of all aspects of Building Control compliance by technically competent individuals within the Bureau Veritas group
• The ability to engage and make use of innovative, online collaborative document control systems. This helps to ensure that the latest information is reviewed and a clear, auditable thread of review is demonstrated
In addition, a clear site inspection regime is to be set out at the beginning of the site delivery phase, with site inspection reports provided on all site visits and delivered electronically to site teams. This is further enhanced by advising on benchmark inspection requirements, witnessing and testing procedure and the collation of all test certificates in a comprehensive site inspection tracker document.
Finally, one of the most significant recommendations of the report, also endorsed by the Government, is the requirement to ensure that relevant fire safety information is available for transferring to the Responsible Person on completion stage (Regulation 38 of Building Regulations). Items to be included in this information pack need to be collated throughout the construction period, and as such the BV tracker format is an essential tool in this process, culminating in a final version to be delivered at handover stage.
Andy Lowe, Building Control Director at Bureau Veritas, said: “In addition to these recommendations for the Building Control system, the interim report highlights a number of changes that should be made to Fire Safety: Approved Document B of the Building Regulations this includes specific aspects of desktop studies in lieu of testing on cladding. There will also be a further, broader review of Approved documents which are to be made easier to understand and more user friendly.
“These are important changes and will be part of the cultural changes necessary to ensure that the regulations are delivering safe buildings within current regulatory framework.
“We welcome the recommendations and we are proud to continue to play a vital role in the delivery of safe, compliant buildings that meet the increasingly stringent regulations. Safety remains the most important aspect of any construction project and we deliver a range of construction consultancy services in partnership with clients to help achieve this, including Building Control, fire safety engineering, CDM consultancy and structural/civil engineering.”