Key Recommendations Made by Dame Judith Hackitt at the Construction Leaders’ Summit

Construction cranes
Construction cranes

At the Construction Leaders’ Summit on the National Building Specification held last week, Dame Judith Hackitt, the chair of the board responsible for establishing the new Building Safety Regulator, spoke about the new legislation that is due to go before parliament later this autumn. The legislation is set to be enforced in 2023. At the summit, she presented a series of recommendations on how the industry should operate and what steps should be taken to prepare for the new legislation. We’ve identified and highlighted the key points below.

Hackitt advised companies to take a proactive approach to the upcoming regulations that will be introduced over the next two to three years. Businesses that fail to do so may face problems when the new legislation comes into force. She then listed a series of recommendations to guide companies on how to adapt to the new legislation so that they would be prepared.

Hackitt told firms that even though the legislation would not come into force until 2023, they should start making changes now. The next two or three years will be pivotal for the transition and in changing practices and behaviours in the industry. She further advised that change needed to start in the boardrooms. Organisations need to start having the conversation and discussing the future changes. A key issue is that there has to be a ‘change of culture’ so that there is much more focus on the collaboration between firms working on a project.

She further warned those companies that believe they can survive in their current form by standing still or defending their current territory, as people will choose to work with companies that want to collaborate. Those not collaborating will face problems from the regulator.

Procurement processes that can affect the safety of a building, like design and build, will not survive in their current form once the new legislation is enforced. The focus will be on safety, sustainability and new needs. Those refusing to adapt will lose business. She urged companies to adapt and change.

In July, the government published draft legislation with new building regulations intended to prevent another disaster like the Grenfell Tower fire. In this draft of the Building Safety Bill, the government confirmed that a new Building Safety Regulator would regulate all residential buildings over 18m high, with a consequential reduction of local authority building control and approved inspection powers. The bill has strict guidelines for those designing, building or inspecting high-rise residential buildings, which will ensure the safety of every resident of such buildings.