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Built environment professions back a joined-up approach to respond to Grenfell Tower DisasterJuly 2017


Julia Evans OBE, BSRIA Chief Executive
The built environment professions back a joined-up approach to respond to the Grenfell Tower disaster: BSRIA is supportive of this initiative and expressly wishes to make members aware.

Press Release from the Construction Industry Council

Working together within the CIC, the built environment professions have agreed to:

  • provide full support and a wide range of expertise to the Department for Communities and Local Government’s [DCLG] Independent Expert Advisory Panel;
  • be an active member of the Industry Response Group, established by Government, to review the solutions to ensure buildings are safe and the supply chain capability to cope with a rapid upsurge in remedial and refurbishment work that is likely to follow the Grenfell tragedy;
  • develop a systemic review of the procurement, design, construction and management of housing and buildings in which people live, in order to provide practical solutions for improvement with particular regard to fire safety; and
  • consider the application of these solutions to other building types.

These recommendations came from a meeting of 50 representatives of 36 professional bodies in the built environment, held at the RICS, earlier this month, under the joint chairmanship of Professor John Nolan (Chairman of CIC) and Turlogh O’Brien CBE (a former Chairman of CIC, now Chairman of the Chartered Institute of Housing and recently appointed to Chair the CIC Expert Panel set up in the wake of the Grenfell tragedy).

The meeting began with a period of silence in memory of the victims of the fire.

Two members of the DCLG Independent Advisory Panel (Dr Peter Bonfield and Amanda Clack) came direct from a meeting of the Panel, earlier in the day, and asked that the CIC group acted as a platform for providing wider expert input to the panel. This was agreed.

Multi-disciplinary, expert groups will be established from amongst the professional bodies and other organisations of experts to contribute to a systemic review of the procurement, design, construction and management of housing and buildings in which people live, in order to provide practical solutions for improvement with particular regard to fire safety.

On behalf of the CIC, Professor Nolan opened the meeting by saying: "The built environment community- from designers to manufacturers, architects, engineers, contractors and landlords - were devastated by the loss of life that resulted from the Grenfell Tower disaster. Our thoughts remain with those who have lost loved ones and those who now find themselves facing the struggle to get settled into new homes and surroundings. It is incumbent upon all of us who are involved in procuring, designing, constructing, inspecting and managing housing and buildings to leave no stone unturned in addressing the issues, brought into such horrifying focus, by the Grenfell disaster; and to do so on the basis of evidence and research, but with appropriate speed.”

Mr O’Brien said: "Professionals from across the built environment community are ideally placed to provide practical and considered insight to the review. The built environment professions have agreed to work together to use their diverse skills, knowledge and experience to support the work of the public inquiry, together with legislators and regulators, as they work through what needs to be done to ensure higher standards of fire safety.”

The Chief Executive of CIC, Graham Watts, will oversee the co-ordination of the work, and he said: “Nothing we can do will ease the grief of the many victims of this tragedy and it is certainly not our role to speculate on the diverse causes of this horrific event. But, we can build on lots of sensible and useful work, already in the public domain, to help identify areas in which the industry and its various constituents can improve, and provide practical solutions of societal benefit." The exact scope of the expert groups will be determined over the next fortnight. In addition to providing expert support to the DCLG’s Expert Panel and the Industry Response Group (alongside Build UK and the Construction Products Association), it is intended that the final report will be provided to the Grenfell Tower Inquiry team.

The CIC will extend the scope of the inquiry to cover other building types once the original work on buildings where people live is complete.

Julia Evans, Chief Executive, BSRIA, said:

“BSRIA is in support of these important recommendations and subsequent actions.
On behalf of the staff and members of BSRIA I would like to express sympathy to all of those who have been affected by this tragic event. BSRIA will ensure that such recommendations are communicated to our members and wider industry. As an industry we must work together to ensure there is never a repeat of this terrible event”.

The 36 professional bodies who have agreed to participate in this work, to date, are:

Association of Consulting Architects
Association of Consultant Approved Inspectors
Association for Consultancy and Engineering
Association for Project Management
Association for Project Safety
British Institute of Interior Design
British Computer Society/Chartered Institute of IT
British Institute of Facilities Management
BRE [Building Research Establishment]
Building Services Research and Information Association
Chartered Association of Building Engineers
Chartered Institute of Architectural Technologists
Chartered Institute of Building
Chartered Institute of Housing
Chartered Institute of Plumbing and Heating Engineering
Chartered Institution of Building Services Engineers
Chartered Institution of Civil Engineering Surveyors
Chartered Institution of Highways & Transportation
Construction Industry Council (CIC)
CIC Approved Inspector Register
Construction Industry Research and Information Association
Fire Sector Federation
Ground Forum
Institute of Clerks of Works and Construction Inspectorate
Institute of Specialist Surveyors and Engineers
Institution of Civil Engineers
Institution of Engineering and Technology – Built Environment Sector
Institution of Structural Engineers
International Institute of Risk & Safety Management
LABC [Local Authority Building Control]
Landscape Institute
National House Building Council
National Register of Access Consultants
Royal Institute of British Architects
Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors
Royal Town Planning Institute
Technology and Construction Solicitors’ Association

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