RIBA launches consultation on new fire safety guidance

The Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) has today (18 September 2018) launched a consultation on a new RIBA Plan of Work for Fire Safety.

 Following the devastating fire at Grenfell Tower in June 2017, the RIBA has consistently called for changes to building regulations including the strengthening of requirements on cladding, sprinklers and means of escape, and clarification on the responsibilities of those who design, construct and manage buildings.

In Dame Judith Hackitt’s ‘Independent Review of Building Regulations and Fire Safety’, which was commissioned by the Government following the Grenfell Tower fire and published earlier this year, she called for ‘greater transparency, accountability and collaboration’ from industry; the new RIBA Plan of Work for Fire Safety directly addresses this call.

 The ‘best practice process map’ within the document has been designed to make clear the roles, responsibilities and deliverables for fire safety at each stage of a building’s lifecycle. It places Hackitt Review recommendations within a recognised industry framework, and has been designed to apply to a wider range of building types and scales. Fire safety considerations will be embedded from the start by involving Building Control, the Fire and Rescue Authority, building managers and tenants more closely from an early stage.

Following the document’s recommended process will strengthen project team accountability through new statutory duties based on the CDM 2015 model. The rigorous review and sign off procedures, and independent inspection, will also help to safeguard fire safe specification and detailing.

RIBA Director of Practice Lucy Carmichael says:

“The Plan of Work for Fire Safety is a vital resource for design and construction teams and building owners, providing much needed clarity on fire safety roles and responsibilities at every stage of the process. We cannot wait for longer term regulatory change to come into force, the construction industry needs immediate guidance. I encourage all RIBA members and other industry professionals to provide detailed feedback on this draft document, which we hope will be an important step to further strengthen consideration of fire safety in all aspects of building design, procurement, construction and maintenance.”

The draft document is open for consultation until 11 October 2018.