Hackitt’s ‘softly softly’ approach to high-rise cladding safety is a disappointment, says Vivalda Group

Dame Judith Hackitt’s final report (Building a Safer Future, May 2018) is an opportunity missed to demonstrate clear leadership in the area of fire safety for high-rise buildings, according to Ben Jayes, managing director of Vivalda Group.

Giving his reaction to the 159-page report, Jayes said: “We were expecting a far clearer statement from Dame Judith, which would include banning any combustible material on tall buildings. We had also hoped to see sharper teeth when it came to independent building inspection, however this appeared to have been overlooked in favour of tighter regulations outlined in the report.

“On a more positive note, while it is encouraging to see that the role of ‘duty holders’ within the planning, design and construction phase of building projects is given weight, I can’t help feeling let down by the final review. We were expecting something stronger.

“Independence and simplicity are the antiseptics we need to guard against unsafe buildings – this all feels too weak to effect the major culture change that’s needed in the construction industry.

“Vivalda Group took a major step forward last year, by launching a company-wide policy to sell only A2 and above (non-combustible) materials to high-rise developments. It’s a great shame that the Hackitt Report isn’t taking similarly robust measures.”