The Association of British Insurers (ABI) has called for a change to the confusing and outdated fire safety regulations and a clearer framework of responsibility for all those in the protection of buildings from fire.
Responding to Independent Review on Building Regulations and Fire Safety, led by Dame Judith Hackitt, the ABI says action is required by the government to update 11-year-old building regulations to make them fit-for-purpose so they effectively protect lives and property from the risk of fire.
The ABI has called for:
- An immediate end to the use of combustible materials on the outside of new and refurbished buildings and limiting the use of combustible material on the inside.
- Development of more robust testing regimes to prove materials are not combustible, and to replicate how these materials are used in real world conditions.
- Much more clarity on the roles and responsibilities of all those involved in managing the fire safety of a building.
- Improving fire protection measures including mandating the installation of fire sprinklers for new schools, care homes and warehouses over 2000m2 – a call the ABI first made in 2016.
ABI Director of General Insurance Policy, James Dalton, says: “It is time to end the outdated fire safety regulation of buildings that are putting lives at risk. Grenfell represents a systemic failure of the protection of buildings from fire in this country.
“The ABI has been calling for changes to buildings regulations since 2009 that would improve fire safety and it is terribly sad it took such a tragic event to bring about change.
“This review marks a seminal opportunity to recommend substantial change that will fundamentally improve fire safety in England’s buildings, but also, as a consequence, make these buildings more commercially attractive risks to insurers, increasing competitiveness and benefitting customers through an associated effect on premiums.”