With a new decade nearly upon us, we decided to reflect on the events of the past 10 years, and the impact they’ve had on the construction industry. For us, 2017 was dominated by one tragic event…
2017 will always be remembered for the tragedy at Grenfell Tower.
Arguably the most defining moment for construction in the last decade and beyond, the events of 14 June 2017 have called into question the way the industry constructs and refurbishes buildings, as well as the competency of the people working within it.
Immediately afterwards, the prime minister ordered an independent public inquiry to examine the circumstances leading up to and surrounding the fire. In addition,the Independent Expert Advisory Panel (IEAP) was set up within weeks of the incident to advise on any immediate measures that could be put in place to make buildings safer.
The following month, the Industry Response Group (IRG) was set up by MHCLG to work alongside IEAP and to coordinate contributions from across the construction industry. The group is made up of representatives from three major industry bodies – Build UK, Construction Industry Council (CIC) and the Construction Products Association (CPA).
In the same month, Dame Judith Hackitt was appointed to lead the Independent Review of Building Regulations and Fire Safety, and released the interim report in December 2017. Critical of guidance and the way the industry assesses competency of people involved in fire safety, Hackitt labelled the regulation system as “not fit for purpose” and called for the construction industry to have a “universal shift in culture”.
Grenfell Tower reports to date
Since the fire, there have been several reports published:
- The Independent Review of Building Regulations and Fire Safety: interim report by Dame Judith Hackitt , December 2017
- The Independent Review of Building Regulations and Fire Safety: final report by Dame Judith Hackitt , May 2018
- Building a safer future: an implementation plan presented to Parliament by the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, December 2018
- Raising the Bar interim report by the Industry Response Group Steering Group on Competence for Building A Safety Future (also known as the Competence Steering Group), August 2019
- Grenfell Tower Inquiry: Phase 1 report by Sir Martin Moore-Bick, October 2019
The Grenfell Tower Inquiry in 2020
The UK Government has committed to implementing all of the recommendations from the Hackitt Review, and there is cross-party support for fundamental change throughout the construction sector.
Progress is slow, however, and how this change will happen in practice is subject to further consultations and policy discussions that will continue into 2020.
Meanwhile, next year will see the construction industry in the spotlight as the Grenfell Tower Public Inquiry turns its focus to the contractors and subcontractors involved in the refurbishment and ongoing maintenance of Grenfell Tower. The full list of issues being considered in Phase 2 can be found on the Grenfell Tower Inquiry website.
As the fallout from the 2017 tragedy continues, we expect 2020 to be a pivotal year for the construction industry.
More posts in our ‘Construction Decade in Review’ series
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