The aftermath of the Grenfell Tower tragedy and the Hackitt report has resulted in fear and confusion in the construction industry.
This not surprising!
Legislation is fragmented – complex and has to be interpreted carefully, cross referencing previous legislation.
New build developments, schools, flats, HMOs, residential and commercial and renovations are all affected by this legislation.
Housing associations, local authorities,’ main contractors, developers and designers and architects are all facing complex legislation and wading through rules and regulations.
The above problem is compounded by too many of us doing the bare minimum to achieve compliance.
This often leads to over engineering or under engineering or lack of attention to what the end client actually needs. This can have big financial cost implications and creates a poor start to a sustainable buildings life-cycle.
Generally, fire engineers are not involved early enough (RIBA 1, 2 and 3 stages) and 90% of the time are not really consulted at all during RIBA stage 5- construction phase.
This means the design changes are not communicated to them and the client ends up remedying costly mistakes.
At RIBA stage 6, the building is handed over to the end user.
Now the gaps in communication become evident as follows:
As built compliance – can it be signed off by all parties- including for insurance purposes?
Installation evidence- has this been done correctly?
How safety features work
Far too often, the above have been overlooked or not communicated properly to all parties.
This results in the end user having to sort these problems out.
He now has difficult negotiations with the main contractor about who sorts what out and critically who pays for it!
We are improving in knowledge throughout the industry, but we fail to set clear roles, responsibilities and outcomes for fire and safety compliance.
Read on, to see how we can mitigate these mistakes.
But first let’s address the obvious question!