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MPs blast Hackitt after she excludes Part P from post-Grenfell fire safety review

Grenfell tower fire inside metropolitan police photograph june 2017
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MPs have criticised the chair of a post-Grenfell review for ruling out an in-depth look at the rules governing design of electrical installations

The Communities and Local Government Committee told Judith Hackitt that the government-commissioned Independent Review of Building Regulations and Fire Safety she is chairing should include a focus on Part P of the Regs.

Part P covers the technical requirements for electrical work in homes, as well as procedures for proving compliance.

Clive Betts, chair of the cross-party committee, had written to Hackitt earlier this month calling for Part P to be considered under the review. But Hackitt replied that she did not think it would be beneficial ‘for my review to deviate from its initial scope so as to undertake a detailed consideration of Part P’.

Now Betts has written gto Hackitt once more. He stated in his letter: ‘It is disappointing that during the public evidence session you told us that the interim report would be an opportunity for stakeholders to feedback how the review could broaden its scope, and yet our recommendation has been rejected on the basis that it would deviate from the review’s initial terms of reference.

‘The public expectation is that you are conducting a review of all building regulations, not only Part B [Fire Safety]. It is therefore important that your review makes recommendations in relation to all aspects of the regulations and guidance, and this should include Part P.’

Betts also told Hackitt the review should cover the regime for testing domestic electrical appliances, and raised concerns about cladding materials.

‘While we appreciate that you have not yet published a final report, and have not yet made final recommendations on this issue, I want to emphasise again the view that it cannot be right to continue to permit the use of combustible materials on the external cladding of high-rise buildings, and that therefore some elements of prescription would seem absolutely necessary in any future regulatory system,’ said his latest letter.

The RIBA has previously criticised the interim report published by Hackitt before Christmas, saying it shied away from ‘introducing immediate and effective changes’.

Hackitt, who is an engineer and chair of manufacturing trade body EEF, was commissioned by the government to carry out an independent review of the building regulations and fire safety in July following the Grenfell Tower fire, which claimed the lives of 71 people.

A spokesperson for Hackitt said today: ’The focus of Dame Judith’s review is the effectiveness and efficiency of the overall building regulatory and fire safety system for high rise and complex buildings. 

‘Dame Judith welcomes the other work being carried out by the government, which includes providing advice to building owners, as well as the recently announced national oversight body, the Office for Product Safety and Standards, which will work to further strengthen the UK’s consumer protection regime.’

She is expected to publish a final report in the coming months.

A separate public inquiry, chaired by retired judged Martin Moore-Bick, will examine the circumstances leading up to and surrounding the fire at Grenfell Tower last June.  

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Readers' comments (1)

  • John Kellett

    Surely as Part P has an impact on the Fire Safety of buildings excluding it is wrong. Not requiring building designers (‘architectural’ anything, technicians and engineers etc) to be suitably qualified is also shameful. Currently the only building designers that must be qualified are architects but our ‘function’ is open to the unqualified. It is in the being allowed to practice as designers of buildings that regulations and legislation needs to be tougher. It would also lessen the workload of the oft quoted ‘safety net’ of local authority building control departments which appear to have proved their inability to ensure safe buildings. For which they have no liability for anyway.

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