DAME Judith Hackitt has spoken in support of an industry initiative pushing for the recommendations of her review into fire safety be implemented in full.
Local Authority Building Control (LABC) and the British Board of Agrément (BBA) teamed up with thinktank Policy Connect to launch ‘100% Hackitt’ at an event in Westminster earlier this week.
The two construction industry organisations united to bring focus to industry calls for a full adoption of Dame Judith’s Independent Review of Building Regulations and Fire Safety; together they are launching a new website www.100-hackitt.co.uk, producing ‘pledge cards’ for supporters to sign up to the initiative and pushing for an Early Day Motion debate in the House of Commons.
Dame Judith attended the launch, delivering a keynote speech to a of cross-party politicians, policy advisors and industry body representatives, telling them there was “massive need” for culture change throughout the industry, with responsibilities clearly defined at every stage of a building’s lifecycle.
“Much remains to be done to bring the construction industry up to the standards of other industries in terms of accountability, transparency and record keeping,” she said. “Don’t tinker, don’t tweak, it has to be fundamental.”
Claire Curtis-Thomas, chief executive of the BBA, said: “The BBA is backing this initiative as strongly as we possibly can because we want to see bad practices in the industry eliminated and protection for the public and companies that are fully committed to high standards of delivery.”
Paul Everall, chief executive of LABC, added: “The LABC and the BBA share the same outlook and are determined to make a difference in our industry. But we’re not waiting, we’re getting on with building a safer future together – right now. The 100% Hackitt initiative is a space for everyone who wants to see systemic change in the construction industry and I hope the whole industry gets behind it.”
The launch event was facilitated by cross-party thinktank Policy Connect through its parliamentary forum for the built environment, the Westminster Sustainable Business Forum.
The initiative has the support of senior figures across the construction and fire safety sector including the Fire Sector Federation. The organisation’s executive officer, Dennis Davis said: “We are backing the 100% Hackitt initiative because we need a mandatory, controlled system that allows us to balance what we want – innovation, good buildings, new ideas, growth in our economy – with sensible restraint that ensures short cuts and economies aren’t made and shows that people are competent, resulting in safe building for those who occupy them.”
Jonathan Shaw, Policy Connect’s chief executive, said: “The Hackitt review represents a once in a generation opportunity to recast the building system and start to build safer, better designed homes. We will discuss how the review can bring about positive change in the construction industry, what still remains to be done and where the Hackitt review could have gone further so that we can encourage the industry to push for change.”
100% Hackitt aims to unite those who wish to see cultural change in the construction industry, promoting safety and public trust via a forum which provides on-going opportunities to discuss cross-discipline issues whilst keeping pressure on ministers to adopt all of the Hackitt review recommendations.
“Dame Judith’s review of building regulations and fire safety showed systemic change is required within our industry,” Curtis-Thomas added. “Her report came with a warning that cherry-picking recommendations would compromise their overall effectiveness and it is this ‘pick and mix’ approach that the BBA and LABC are urging the government to avoid by accepting the recommendations in full.