The Royal Institute of British Architects has added its voice to concerns over a Government review into fire safety.  It fears eventual recommendations will fall short of making sprinklers compulsory in some buildings. It is also worried that flammable cladding, like that used on the exterior of Grenfell Tower, will not be banned. It has written an open letter to the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government.

The Institute (RIBA) is concerned the Hackitt Review will not deliver sufficient changes. It wants robust building regulations and fire safety to save lives. The independent review, led by Dame Judith Hackitt (pictured), was set up in the aftermath of the Grenfell Tower fire tragedy.

 

Key changes needed

RIBA’s Expert Advisory Group on Fire Safety says in the letter it is concerned that key changes seem to have been overlooked. They include:

  • A ban on flammable cladding
  • Installation of sprinklers
  • A second means of escape for high-rise residential buildings

Its own briefing document has made recommendations that it urges the government to consider. It is calling for those suggestions to be looked at before Dame Judith Hackitt’s final report is next month.

Jane Duncan, immediate past president of RIBA and chair of RIBA’s Expert Advisory Group on Fire Safety, said: “The RIBA has engaged closely with Dame Judith and her review and we welcome many of the suggestions made in her interim report to strengthen the building control system. However, we fear that the current set of proposals under consideration overlook simple but critical changes that would provide clarity for professionals and most importantly, would help protect the public.”

 

Hackitt Review: rules need to be rewritten

Ms Duncan added: “Sprinklers, a second means of escape and a ban on flammable cladding for high-rise residential buildings are common-sense recommendations, and a basic requirement in many other countries.

“We have written to the secretary of state making it clear that there must be a thorough rewriting of the building regulations and guidance on all aspects of fire safety, to avoid continuation of the regulatory failings that led to the Grenfell Tower fire.”

The interim review document can be read here.

 

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