GAI response to the Hackitt Independent Review of the Building Regulations and Fire safety call for evidence

The GAI have been responsible for voicing the opinion of its membership to the UK Independent Review of Building Regulations and Fire Safety by Dame Judith Hackitt. This was following an in-depth member survey as well as polling the views of GAI Technical Committee and GAI Executive Committee. The resulting document which can be read here provided substantial detailed opinion but is summarised in the following 12 key recommendations.

1. There should be mandatory usage of fully qualified architectural ironmongers to compile an ironmongery specification.

2. A similar mandatory scheme to Gas Safe should be adopted in to law for installation of fire doors.

3. Fire door inspection should be mandatory in the UK in similar fashion to USA and Australia. Heavy fines should be levied for non-compliance.

4. Third party certification of fire safety products should be mandatory.

5. There needs to be an individual who is tasked with the sign-off of each stage in the

process which is related to fire safety. This should include any deviation away from accepted and original signed-off specification.

6. There should be a complete review of the sign off process with the introduction of mandatory sign off procedure which is similar to the Building Control Amendment Regulations 2014 (BCAR) in the Republic of Ireland.

7. The role and position of the Clerk of Works on site should be re-introduced as a means of ensuring on site compliance in installation.

8. Approved Document B should be revised to remove ambiguities and be much clearer to understand.

9. Approved Documents in general should be written in such a way that the requirements of each one do not contradict another.

10. The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 should be amended to provide greater involvement of the fire service with regards to the sign-off of buildings

11. The responsible person should be named on the Health and Safety poster with a contact number giving the realistic times for when a person will answer.

12. A clear and transparent mechanism should be available which allows tenants to contact the responsible person/ local authority/ building control to report concerns on fire safety.

Dame Judith Hackitt’s interim report, ‘Building a Safer Future’ which listed the GAI as a contributor was published in December 2017. This report which was welcomed by the GAI recommended several of these points including the re-introduction of the Clerk of Works role on site as well as “changes that will improve the clarity of Approved Document B”. The report also made comment on the importance of ironmongery to a fire door as sample qualitative evidence in response to industry feedback on concerns raised about prevalence of product substitution as part of a process of value engineering.

GAI will continue to promote the highest standards of specification and supply on behalf of its members to the highest possible level through its own auspices or through joint ventures with other Trade Associations including British Woodworking Federation and through its membership of the Passive Fire Protection Forum.

The final report from Dame Judith Hackitt is due for release Spring 2018 and GAI look forward to its findings as well as furthering the aims and endeavours of its membership. Anyone seeking further clarification should contact GAI Technical Manager Douglas Masterson on technical@gai.org.uk.