The interim report from the building regulations review ordered by the British Parliament following the deadly Grenfell Tower fire has fallen short of taking a stance on banning combustible claddings on high-rise buildings. “This means we continue with this grey-area in regards to fire-safety,” said Jane Duncan, immediate past president of the Royal Institute of British Architects and chair of RIBAs Expert Advisory Group on Fire Safety.
Dame Judith Hackitt, a chemical engineer, led the review and issued her report on December 18. She did call for a complete overhaul of the construction industry, finding that the system is “not fit for purpose.” The report called for an end to cost-cutting on materials—the practice in which the building designed is not the one that’s built, which is thought to have been a major factor in the fatal fire’s rapid spread.
RIBA is calling for the final report, which is due in the spring, to require a named person or organization to be held accountable for the oversight of fire safety in the design and construction of a building project. It also has called for introduction of immediate changes to Approved Document B, the current fire safety guidelines, to ban flammable claddings on high-rise buildings. In the U.S., such aluminum composite panels as were installed on the Grenfell Tower are illegal in buildings over 40 feet in height.
— NY Times, Guamsite.com, and Durability + Design