New approval structures recommended by the Hackitt Review

5 Jul 2018

The Hackitt review proposes three new structures to tackle inadequacies in the regulatory system.

The review proposes that the current Building Regulations Advisory Committee (BRAC) is replaced. The new body would be responsible for: validation of industry guidance; reviewing the ongoing performance of the sector; providing engineering advice to government; and periodically reviewing the effectiveness of the overall system of building regulation.

New guidance on compliance is proposed to be industry owned but this new body will be responsible for ensuring such guidance is suitable and sufficient and, will be tasked with producing guidance where it is not. Therefore actual ownership of the guidance will be shared. Given the scale of the challenge to update the regulation system in line with Hackitt’s recommendations, it would seem more efficient for Government to lead this process.

Hackitt proposes the formation of a new Joint Competent Authority (JCA) comprising Local Authority Building Standards, fire and rescue authorities and the Health and Safety Executive. This authority will have responsibility to approve the designs of residential buildings, 10 storeys and above, prior to granting of planning and then again prior to the start of construction.

Finally, the JCA will need to approve the completed structure prior to occupation. The inclusion of the HSE within the JCA is welcome and effectively extends the rigour of CDM to include safety of occupation.

The review calls for a competency framework and an oversight body to be created that can provide coherent and consistent assurance of competency. The oversight body would need to cover both professional and vocational competency.

At present the industry is developing a proposal for this following the Interim report. However the review is clear that if government does not believe the proposal is adequate then the government should mandate a body to establish competency levels and their implementation.

Again, given nature of construction, it may be beneficial for government to mandate a body to oversee competency now rather than await industry output.