HBF Technical Conference 2018

12 September, 2018

austin court

HBF Technical Conference

Hackitt Review and clean growth at HBF Technical Conference

The industry needs to shift to a more proactive approach when it comes to Building Regulations and fire safety, according to Dame Judith Hackitt.

Sending a message to the HBF Technical Conference, held in Birmingham on  September 12, Dame Judith, author of the Independent Review of Building Regulations and Fire Safety, called for a shift from an approach where the industry waits to be instructed, to “actually engaging with government”.

Dame Judith also said that at the start of her work for the review, triggered by the Grenfell Tower fire, she was surprised to hear through discussions that people “were aware the system wasn’t working”.

But she added that her recommended approach in the review  – establishing a new regulatory framework for building safety – would switch the focus “from doing things cheaply to the industry producing buildings that are safe to live in”.

Speaking at the conference, Bob Ledsome, deputy director of Building Regulations and standards at the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG), thanked the industry for its support so far in working towards creating safe buildings.

Ledsome said that he was “grateful” for the industry’s work and pointed to the sector’s “early adopters” – developers who are set to trial some of Dame Judith’s recommendations.

“Grenfell was a shock to government and industry,” Ledsome said. “Government can’t deliver on safe buildings on its own. I’m grateful for the industry’s support and would encourage that to continue.”

He added that this autumn, MHCLG intended to set out an implementation plan following the Hackitt review. The key element to implementation, Ledsome said, was establishing regulatory systems for high rise buildings, including the creation of Hackitt’s proposed Joint Competent Authority to oversee better management of safety risks in these buildings across their life cycle.

Hackitt’s work had also prompted the government to consider industry approaches to Approved Documents, Ledsome indicated. Echoing Dame Judith’s comments on the need for a more proactive industry, he said: “The challenge from Hackitt was that - the concept of Approved Documents might be sound, but was the industry just following them with a compliance mentality? Should the industry be taking more ownership over what needs to be achieved?”

MHCLG will undertake a “full technical review” of Part B (fire safety) beginning later this year. A new Part L (conservation of fuel and power) is due “sometime in 2019”.

Also speaking at the conference, Katy Read, the Department of Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy’s policy lead for energy performance of buildings, gave details of the government’s Clean Growth Strategy, its blueprint for moving the UK to low carbon energy use.

Read told delegates that under the Buildings Mission, part of the strategy, the energy use of new buildings must be “at least” halved by 2030. With the government’s plans, “we need to focus on the skills gap – who can install low carbon systems,” she said.


Craig Ferrans
Craig Ferrans
Technical Director, HBF
Katy Read
Katy Read
Department of Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy
Lucy Thomas
Lucy Thomas
Chief Scientist, RSK
Ray Farrow
Ray Farrow
Steve Wielebski
HBF Consultant
Matthew Norris
Technical Director (South Thames), Croudace Homes
Tim Hartwell
Group Architectural Manager, Miller Homes
Simon Piggott
Dale Saunders
Technical Director, Taylor Wimpey
Liza Smith
Apprenticeship Manager, Crest Nicholson
Bob Ledsome


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