In Dame Judith Hackitt’s final report for the Independent Review of Building Regulations and Fire Safety, released last Thursday, recognition is given to the importance of using non-combustible materials.
The report states that the use of such materials “inherently provides higher levels of protection”. There is also a call for a “focus on reducing on-going building risk during the occupation and maintenance phase”.
The Concrete Centre, the ready-mix concrete supplier, has supplied evidence to the review, based on its engineering and fire expertise. The company’s Executive Director, Dr Andrew Minson, has said: “It is now evident that buildings degrade, and fire protection is compromised during use of a building, so the choice of non-combustible concrete and masonry is a very good way to reduce these risks.”
The report focuses on Construction Design Management (CDM) regulations and the recommendation for the involvement of the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) beyond the completion of construction, which the Concrete Centre is supportive of. Minson has commented: “We continue to express concerns that fire risk in construction, and during occupancy, have not been a high enough priority.
“In recent years, HSE recognised and acted on the heightened risks from timber framed buildings during construction, and we urge Government to do more to ensure that non-combustible structural materials are used for higher risk, high-rise residential buildings. We also support the report’s clear recommendation that these guidelines be applied more widely.”
A creation of new structures has been recommended by Dame Judith Hackitt, including a structure to validate and assure guidance, a Join Competent Authority for enforcement and an overarching body for competency.
The Concrete Centre believes that choosing non-combustible materials, such as concrete and masonry, for the main structure of a building, will provide the perfect starting point for building a safer environment for all.