The Grenfell Tower fire was one of the most devastating single events to occur in the UK’s built environment since World War 2. In its aftermath, various pledges and proposals have been put forward by the Government to try and redress failings in residential construction. These include improvements in professional accountability for safety in design and build phases.
The Hackitt Report called for clearer accountability, when it came to overseeing specification, a more robust construction products testing and compliance regime, and revised Building Regulations. Following Hackitt, The Building Safety Act has brought a clearer chain of responsibility, tighter regulations, and the concept of a Golden Thread of project data, as well as a national construction products regulator. In addition, there could be a bigger role for architects ensuring safety in such projects in the form of the new Principal Designer.
We surveyed architects on their views of these fundamental changes, and how they saw the future of safety accountability in projects. The results were mixed, reporting current challenges to accountability and the potential to ‘preserve the original design intent’ but also how the Building Safety Act might fix certain aspects.