Fire Safety & Project Accountability Post-Building Safety Act with Nigel Ostime

Building Insights Episode 8 4 January 2023

Nigel Ostime is a partner at Hawkins\Brown architects and is a key figure in sharing knowledge and improving best practice, including taking part in various research within the practice and working within RIBA’s Client Liaison Group. This has included work around the post-Hackitt fire safety agenda, and the potential of the Building Safety Act to increase the role of architects in achieving more robust procurement for accountable, fire-safe designs for high-risk residential schemes, in the wake of Grenfell.

In this podcast Nigel discusses the impact of the recent Building Safety Act, introduced to bring a range of improvements in building procurement to help ensure greater safety in future. He explains how although many of the provisions won’t be in force until secondary legislation is produced, there is a changing picture already in terms of a potential larger role for architects as the Principal Designer on high-risk projects.

He believes robustness is sorely lacking – but that there are improvements within the Act – such as the new gateway approach to checking designs as they progress. Nigel comments on the findings of our recent white paper on fire safety and design accountability, and ponders whether the act will be clear enough on Design and Build contractors’ responsibility, for example.

Ostime admits the agenda is very challenging for the wider industry, but also that  more information is needed for architects throughout the various stages of the design process, as they are likely to be, or are already, given a large amount of responsibility for areas such as fire safety in projects. 

He has some key insights on this new agenda for safer future buildings. Given the severity of the potential risks of getting things wrong, as highlighted so tragically at Grenfell Tower, Costume believes that architects simply have to ‘roll up their sleeves and do it.’

Thanks to Siderise, Kingspan Timber Solutions, Pilkington, ROCKPANEL, Promat and Morley Glass for sponsoring this episode.



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