The LGA welcomes the publication of Dame Judith Hackitt’s final report, and supports many of the recommendations in it. However there are some areas where the LGA believes the report did not go far enough.
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- The LGA welcomes the publication of Dame Judith Hackitt’s final report, and supports many of the recommendations in it. However there are some areas where the LGA believes the report did not go far enough, and others where there needs to be further work on the detail of the recommendations for them to be taken forward. The LGA stands ready to assist in working up the necessary detail needed to implement some of the recommendations.
- The definition of higher risk residential buildings (HRRBs) is too narrow. The LGA’s view is that HRRB’s should be defined as all buildings over 11 metres (the height at which Scotland proposes to define high-rise buildings, based on the practicalities of fighting fires at height) and all buildings in which vulnerable people will sleep (other than private dwellings), including student accommodation. There may be some non-residential buildings which need to be subject to the same regulatory approach due to the difficulty in effecting evacuation in the event of fire.
- Retrospective action should be undertaken on a risk-based not a prescriptive basis, but the requirement to take action to make buildings safe should be robust and should include Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMOs).
- Combustible materials should be banned from external cladding systems (except where no non-combustible option exists for a necessary component, in which case a system test will be necessary); the use of desktop studies should be prohibited in relation to external cladding systems; and any testing regime for external cladding systems must be subject to third party verification of products and system construction.
- The creation of the Joint Competent Authority (JCA) needs to respect the democratic accountability of local council building control services and fire and rescue authorities. The JCA’s functions will be predominantly exercised at a local level; collaborative national structures must be designed to support those local functions.