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Dame Judith Hackitt marks “significant milestone” for building safety regime

16 April 2024

THIS MONTH marks a significant milestone for the Building Safety Regulator at the Health and Safety Executive as the new building safety regime is fully established in law. Dame Judith Hackitt has chosen the moment to reflect on the journey so far and called on everyone involved to continue working together to ensure the new regime works for all.

When Dame Judith agreed to carry out the Independent Review of Building Regulations and Fire Safety almost seven years ago, there was no sense of how deep the involvement might be or for how long. Certainly, Dame Judith believes this process has proven to be “one of the most important work programmes” ever undertaken by the British engineer and civil servant.

“Like everyone else, I was shocked to the core by what happened at Grenfell Tower in 2017 and even more so by the subsequent discovery of the poor practices that were widespread,” stated Dame Judith. “Understanding how we had arrived at this sorry state was not enough for me. Seeing through the much needed changes became a very personal and passionate mission.”

Although this month does indeed mark a very significant milestone on the journey, Dame Judith asserted: “We all need to be crystal clear that this is not the end of the journey. In many ways, we have made huge progress in arriving at where we are and we now look forward to rebuilding confidence in the safety of residents in their homes wherever they live.”

Industry Safety Steering Group

Chaired by Dame Judith, the Industry Safety Steering Group has recently published its fourth report. This document shows where progress is really being made, but also highlights the many players in this complex system who have yet to wake up and stand up to their responsibilities.

Dame Judith continued: “We’ve recently concluded that there’s an ongoing role for the Industry Safety Steering Group to support the work of the Building Safety Regulator and Government more broadly as reform of various aspects of building safety continues.”

Further, Dame Judith noted: “We will continue to challenge those who wait to be told rather than seizing the opportunity to do what they already know they should be doing. We will also highlight and praise good practice where we see it and hold it up as an exemplar to the rest of industry.”

Foremost concern

Dame Judith’s “biggest concern” remains the number of people who persist in finding reasons not to act – most often cited as waiting for someone else to provide the detail.

“My greatest wish is for us all to commit to work together to make the new building safety regime work for everyone, but most of all for all residents everywhere. We will continue to learn as we move forward.”

In conclusion, Dame Judith said: “We know there are challenging issues still to be addressed, but this ‘once in a generation’ change is a reality. Sadly, it’s very much the case that many industry sectors have learned hard lessons from tragedies. Now is the time for the built environment to pledge to do the same.”