Apartments and office buildings in a city


  • The final Grenfell Tower Inquiry report will be published on 4 September, it has been announced, following hearings to determine how the Kensington tower block came to be in a condition that allowed fire to spread.

    The second report into the 2017 disaster, which claimed 72 lives, comes after a seven-year long inquiry which examined 1,500 witness statements and 300,000 documents.

    A brief notice on the inquiry website said: “The inquiry has written to core participants to inform them that the phase two report will be published on Wednesday 4 September 2024.

    ”Further information about the arrangements for publication will be published in due course.”

    The report follows the final hearing in the inquiry’s second phase, which examined how the tower block came to be in a condition that allowed fire to spread, in November 2022. The first report into the inquiry, which established a factual narrative of events, was published in October 2019.

    The report comes a day after the Metropolitan Police said a total of 19 firms or organisations and 58 individuals are currently under investigation in relation to the disaster, by a team of 180 dedicated officers and staff.

    It said criminal trials for the Grenfell Tower fire will not begin until 2027.

    • Building Safety Act
  • An open letter from the Housing Minister and the Director of Building Safety regarding charges associated with managing safety in high rise buildings.

    In a joint letter to building managers, housing minister Lee Rowley and Phillip White, the director of building safety at the Health and Safety Executive, said they have been made aware of ‘unacceptably high’ charges for services related to producing safety case reports in recent months.

    The letter acknowledged that pulling together evidence to produce the safety case report for some buildings ‘can be a challenging process’ and that building managers may need to commission investigations in some cases.

    The housing minister and director of building safety issued a warning that they will “continue to monitor very closely the actions of those within this sector and, should we see evidence of inappropriate behaviour, will not hesitate to call it out publicly in the future”.

    They added: “Most of this sector is already doing the right thing; others should take heed of this letter and the advice contained therein immediately”.

    However, it stressed that leaseholders should be able to understand what they’re being charged for and why, and that existing building safety assessments should be used where possible

    Read the full letter here

    • Building Safety Regulator
  • The Health and Safety Executive has published new guidance today (4 April) on preparing a Building Assessment Certificate (BAC) application for Principal Accountable Persons (PAPs). 

    The PAP for a high-rise residential building must apply for a BAC when told to do so by the Building Safety Regulator (BSR) within 28 days - the new application portal is also live here

    • Building Safety Regulator
  • Today (29 March 2024), the government has updated its guidance calling for second staircases in all new tall residential buildings over 18 metres from 30th September 2026 – further enhancing the UK’s world-leading building safety standards.

    The change in guidance adds to a package of recent fire safety measures and reforms including the Building Safety Act which ensure the safety of people in both new and existing tall buildings.

    Existing tall buildings are also being considered as part of the Grenfell Tower Inquiry’s recommendations. The Home Office is currently considering responses to their consultation on personal emergency evacuation plans, to which a response will be published in due course. 

    Lee Rowley, Minister for Housing, said: 

    "The change in guidance to include two staircases for buildings over 18 metres provides clarity for developers and ensures both new and existing buildings provide safe and secure homes for all residents."
    Following a public consultation, the government announced last year its intent to set a threshold height of 18 metres above which a second staircase should be provided in residential buildings – a change which reflects views of experts including the National Fire Chiefs Council and Royal Institute of British Architects.

    This was followed in October by confirmation of transitional arrangements which set the timeframe for the new regulations and strike a fair balance between giving developers enough time to make the required changes, while also evolving our safety standards as swiftly as possible.

    The transition period also provides clarity for developers during a difficult economic climate and projects previously held up at the planning stage can now go ahead with certainty.

    • Fire Safety
  • Building control professionals have been given an extra 13 weeks to prove their competence, calming fears of an imminent collapse in councils’ ability to provide the service. 

    Under rules introduced by the Building Safety Act 2022 in the wake of the Grenfell Tower tragedy, building control inspectors had been expected to register with the Building Safety Regulator and pass through an accreditation process by 6 April.

    But recent months have seen accreditation bodies warn that too few inspectors would receive their qualifications in time for the deadline, raising concerns that some councils would be rendered unable to carry out building control. 

    On 13th March, The devolved government in Wales has already announced a six-month extension of the deadline for accreditation (extended to 1 October 2024) and today (14 March 2024), the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has confirmed there will also be an extension, albeit a significantly shorter one, in England. 

    A letter from the HSE’s director of building safety, Philip White, confirmed to the industry that there would be a competence assessment extension period of 13 weeks, shifting the deadline from 6 April to 6 July 2024. 

    Inspectors will still be required to register with the regulator to continue working, but those who do will have longer to demonstrate their competence. 

    Read the full story here

    • Building Safety Regulator