Hackitt condemns return to corner cutting

Companies told to improve safety ahead of new regulatory regime

Professional bodies need to embrace their ‘moral obligation’ to improve standards and safety in buildings before a new, tougher regulatory regime is enforced later this year, says reformer Dame Judith Hackitt.

She said the Covid-19 crisis was being used as an excuse to return to a culture of ‘corner cutting’ and for further delay in adopting new working practices, adding that ‘our urgent calls for proactive, collaborative leadership do not yet appear to have been heeded’.

Speaking at the launch of her Industry Safety Steering Group’s (ISSG’s) second report, she expressed frustration at the slow pace of change.

‘In the past year, it has become clear that some parts of the industry are making real progress, but it has been equally frustrating for me and my colleagues on ISSG to keep hearing that others are waiting to see what the new regulatory regime looks like before they take action.

‘Given the clear evidence that continues to emerge of concerns about high-rise building safety –which go beyond ACM cladding – we believe that there is a moral obligation on the industry to step up to a different approach.’

Dame Judith said the steering group, which was only intended to operate for two years, would remain in place until the proposed Building Safety Bill was passed into law and the new industry regulator was in post.

According to the ISSG report, some parts of the industry are rising to the challenge, including the Construction Leadership Council, which has set out goals to improve building safety in its Roadmap for Recovery