Building regulations review: RIBA wants the ‘full range’ of issues examined

The Royal Institute of British Architects has urged the Independent Review of the Building Regulations and Fire Safety to make recommendations on the ‘full range’ of regulatory and safety issues it identifies, beyond those relating to high-rise buildings.

The RIBA is hoping the Review will produce ‘a robust and fit-for-purpose’ regulatory regime and carry out ‘a comprehensive reappraisal’ of the current fire safety guidance, Approved Document B.

In a statement released today (Thursday, 7 September), RIBA Immediate Past President and Chair of the RIBA’s Expert Advisory Group on Grenfell, Jane Duncan, said:

“It is essential that the outcome of the review is a robust and fit-for-purpose regulatory regime that ensures that buildings are safe in the long term.

“It is proper that the Review is broad in scope, and covers issues such as the coherence of the current regulatory regime and the balance of responsibilities of key individuals within the system.

“We strongly believe that the Independent Review should make recommendations on the full range of issues relating to building regulations and fire safety, including but extending beyond multi-occupancy high-rise residential buildings.

“A comprehensive reappraisal of Approved Document B is needed, not just amendments and clarifications.”

The RIBA previously expressed disappointment that the scope of the Grenfell Tower Inquiry – which is running in parallel with the building regulations review – did not include the regulatory and procurement context for the construction of buildings. Duncan insisted such examination would have been ‘crucial’ to understanding “the often complicated division of design responsibilities and the limited level of independent oversight of construction”.

Terms of reference

The Independent Review of the Building Regulations and Fire Safety Review, which has been launched by the Government following the tragic Grenfell Tower fire in June, will:

  • map the current regulatory system (i.e. the regulations, guidance and processes) as it applies to new and existing buildings through planning, design, construction, maintenance, refurbishment and change management;
  • consider the competencies, duties and balance of responsibilities of key individuals within the system in ensuring that fire safety standards are adhered to;
  • assess the theoretical coherence of the current regulatory system and how it operates in practice
  • compare this with other international regulatory systems for buildings and regulatory systems in other sectors with similar safety risks;
  • make recommendations that ensure the regulatory system is fit for purpose with a particular focus on multi-occupancy high-rise residential buildings.