However, as anticipated, political concerns have already led to these proposals being "beefed up".
The Housing, Communities and Local Government Committee, in its response to the Hackitt report addressing next steps, makes a number of recommendations, almost all representing an extension of the ambitious regime proposed by Dame Hackitt.
Against what was already a far reaching reform agenda the above would significantly extend both the breadth and depth of the changes required. It takes as read that 18m, not 10 storeys, will be the height of a "high rise", it extends the potential application to numerous additional categories of building, it advocates retrospective removal of cladding, retrospective fitting of sprinklers, and proposes significant reform of building regulations and testing of products.
It advocates enhancing both the outcomes-based principle-focused system recommended by Dame Hackitt while at the same time introducing enhanced prescriptive rules into Building Regulations, believing this will guarantee minimum standards whilst improving oversight and sanctions.
It overcomes some of the inherent conflicts between the two regimes that are reflected in the government combustible cladding consultation by recommending the retrospective implementation of the enhanced standards in existing buildings, removing many inconsistencies. The latter would, however, we anticipate, come with enormous financial implications.
In summary, perhaps unsurprisingly, the prevailing political sentiment appears to be to go further and to "gold plate" the Hackitt recommendations by extending the ambit of her proposed reforms whilst enhancing and back-dating existing control measures.
With sprinklers and cladding at the top of the agenda in this document it is also easy to forget that, in another area of criticism arising following the disaster, fire door tests revealed that some 30 minute fire doors lasted just 15 minutes in a real world scenario.
The Minister for Housing, Communities and Local Government has suggested there is evidence of a "broader issue" across the fire door market and will meet with suppliers to discuss this. The Ministry will also develop a certification scheme to provide greater reassurance to dutyholders. Again for buildings with potentially substandard doors in place the uncertainty generated and the potential need to carry out wholesale replacement of doors warranted as compliant will be unwelcome.
No legislation appears to be recommended specifically in respect of fire doors at present however given the clear appetite for reform duty holders would be well advised to watch this space.This publication is intended for general guidance and represents our understanding of the relevant law and practice as at August 2018. Specific advice should be sought for specific cases. For more information see our terms & conditions.
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