6 months ago

Total Contractor

Hackitt review A CALL TO

Hackitt review A CALL TO ACTION The Hackitt Review is set to help bring change to the construction industry, and that change should be for the better, but what does it really mean for contractors operating in the roofing and cladding sectors? Roy Weghorst, Head of Regulatory Affairs – Fire at Kingspan, gives Total Contractor his thoughts... Ever since the terrible fire at Grenfell Tower claimed the lives of 71 people in June 2017, there has been a hunger for real change. It is hoped that the Independent Review of the Building Regulations and Fire Safety, led by Dame Judith Hackitt, will help to bring about that change. The full Review is due to be published in the next few weeks, but the construction industry is looking for clear guidance now. The Interim Report, which was published in December 2017, highlights six areas where change needs to happen: • Regulation and Guidance • Roles and Responsibilities • Competence • Process, Compliance and Enforcement • Residents’ Voice and Raising Concerns • Quality Assurance and Products Each of these will have an impact on contractors to some degree, and it is important to understand what that might be. Regulation and guidance The first point to be raised is that the rules for high-rise and complex buildings should be made more risk-based, in proportion to how great the risks are, and that people responsible for those buildings should be more accountable. There is, of course, already additional guidance for some high-risk buildings such as hospitals and schools, but this recommendation would take much more account of how buildings in general are going to be used and who is going to be using them. A possible knock-on effect from this recommendation could be better levels of insurance premiums, because the balance of risk is being managed better. The next point is a call to action to the construction industry to take more responsibility for the identification and specification of safe solutions that meet the Government “functional standards”, rather than relying on Government guidance being kept up to date, or on overprescription within that guidance. This would be an important shift – it makes the industry more accountable, at the same time allowing for innovative solutions, provided they meet the requirements. The last, and probably the most important point is that “Regulations and guidance must be simplified and unambiguous”. Nobody would argue against the claim that aspects of the current guidance are complicated and that this may have been a factor in many of the problems now coming to light. Making the guidance clearer is the first step towards healing our broken system. Roles and responsibilities We’ve already talked about the industry as a whole taking more responsibility. This section looks at the part that individuals must play. The report states that the main responsibility rests with “those who commission, design and build the project”. In other words, if you are a contractor on a project, you are responsible for the quality of the build. This may seem like an obvious thing, but especially on big projects with complicated supply chains, it is all too easy to BS 8414 test to assess system performance assume that somebody else is checking that nothing is being missed. It is stressed, therefore, that this responsibility must rest with “clearly identifiable senior individuals”. Of course, it is not just the build stage that is coming under scrutiny, and the next recommendation is that who is responsible for what should be made clearer over the whole life of the building. Competence Fire prevention in buildings is a complex thing. Understanding how all the different elements interact and being able to construct them correctly requires specialist knowledge and skill, especially for something like a high-rise building. The suggestion is that we need to raise the levels of competence for those involved in fire prevention, whether it’s design, construction, inspection or maintenance, and to have a system of accreditation to demonstrate that competence. 62 TC MARCH 2018

Delivering training excellence to the construction industry National Construction Training Services is committed to providing an outstanding level of training across all roofing disciplines. All facets of pitched and flat roofing are included with extra focus given to the most needed sectors such as lead and hard metal. Our professional and progressive course programmes inspire and educate roofers. Working with roofing federations, training groups, manufacturers and employers from across the industry we can offer a variety of training courses designed to fit with your needs, no matter your level of skill. NCTS Training & Assessment Lead & Hard Metal Slate and Tiling Flat Roofing Apprenticeships Upskilling Programmes Liquid Waterproofing Manufacturers Training OSAT Qualifying the workforce For more information on apprenticeship training contact: 01480 501011 National Construction Training Services @NCTS_2017 NCTS

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