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RIBA proposes post-Grenfell Plan of Work update

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The RIBA has launched a consultation on a new document attempting to clarify procedures, roles and responsibilities for fire safety in new buildings

The institute’s Plan of Work for Fire Safety has been drawn up in response to Judith Hackitt’s Independent Review of Building Regulations and Fire Safety, commissioned by the government in the wake of the Grenfell Tower tragedy.

Hackitt’s review called for ‘greater transparency, accountability and collaboration’ from industry. The proposed update effectively overlays the recommendations on to the existing process guidance. 

RIBA director of practice Lucy Carmichael said: ‘The Plan of Work for Fire Safety is a vital resource for design and construction teams and building owners, providing much-needed clarity on fire-safety roles and responsibilities at every stage of the process.

‘We cannot wait for longer-term regulatory change to come into force; the construction industry needs immediate guidance.’

The RIBA document is accompanied by a process map showing best practice on who should take responsibility for delivering and overseeing fire safety at different stages of a building’s construction.

It calls for earlier involvement of building control, fire authorities, building managers and tenants.

Project team accountability would be enforced through new statutory duties based on the Construction Design and Management Regulations 2015 model.

Proposed review and sign-off procedures, and independent inspection, would also help to safeguard fire safe specification and detailing.

The draft document is open for consultation until 11 October 2018.

Riba plan of work for fire safety consultation document 2

Riba plan of work for fire safety consultation document 2

Riba plan of work for fire safety consultation document 1

Riba plan of work for fire safety consultation document 1


Readers' comments (3)

  • Phil Parker

    Why doesn’t the RIBA wait and then make a considered response that has meaning and purpose? The proposal as is is lightweight and embarrassing. Is the product of some lame duck committee at the RIBA. The answer is yes.

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  • Industry Professional

    It is food for thought but I am not sure that the fire strategy should be the primary responsibility of the Principal Designer. I would have thought that the fire strategy should lie with the lead designer. Back in 2014 the HSE ideally wanted both roles to be by the same organisation but that is not often how it works. Too many times the Principal Designer is not part of the core design team and can get side-lined.
    In terms of the proposed site inspections, I presume these are to ensure that the design intent is followed through on site and are included to give the "as built" drawings integrity. Is the idea for the Architect or for the Principal Designer to make these? It needs to be the discipline that knows the most about the design.

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  • MacKenzie Architects

    A big part of the Grenfell learning is likely to be workmanship and supervision.
    If you brought back a powerful clerk of works on to all projects over a certain size -and all public-sector work, you might build what is actually designed.
    I think most architects will up their game in terms of detailing because they'll have to, but until design-Build responsibilities are sorted out, there is a problem in the design stages too.

    Perhaps if D+B designers are forced to sign something that says their design has been produced to comply with Building Regulations and to sign-off key details on certain aspects like- structure and fabric, escape routes and firefighting, plantroom allocation, space standards, wall thickness to satisfy thermal performance ..... maybe RIBA Plan of Work guys could come up with a standard.

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