16 Nov 2022
What is the Building a Safer Future Charter?
In the Building a Safer Future report, Dame Judith Hackitt identifies the failure of leadership and culture as a significant element of the Grenfell Tower tragedy.
The Industry Early Adopters Group (referred to as Charter Founders) developed the Charter as a first step towards spearheading the cultural and behavioural changes needed across the industry to achieve a safer building system.
The Five Commitments
The Charter consists of five commitments, each demonstrating the group’s dedication to protecting life by putting safety above all other building priorities.
Commitment 1: Collaborate to spearhead culture change and be the voice of building safety across our sector.
Within the commitment, the Charter aims to:
- Create a culture where everyone involved in the design, construction and occupation of a building feels able to raise concerns – with transparency and accountability as the priority
- Making building safety a collective aim for the industry so that companies across the sector challenge each other, share best practices and share lessons to continually improve the safety of buildings for residents
- Pre-empting the implementation of building safety reforms, testing and trialling proposals and sharing the results so that regulation is fit for purpose and proactively taking the lead to continually improve building safety in the future
Commitment 2: Be transparent in the interests of safety, sharing key information with residents, clients, contractors and statutory bodies in a useful, accessible manner in the design, construction and occupation phases of the process
- Create Building Safety Records to provide key building safety information for residents
- Making the best use of digital technologies to ensure key building information is recorded and retained
- Using social media to keep residents informed as to what is happening and where they can access more information
Commitment 3: Make safety a key factor of choice in who we work with, ensuring building safety is placed at the centre of selection decisions without compromising quality or value for money
- Ensure that supply chain partners are similarly committed to improving building safety and working towards signing the Building a Safer Future Charter
- Ensure clear competence requirements for all companies and people working on high-rise buildings
- Move towards a ‘digital by default’ approach to working with supply chain partners to ensure that we can create a digital record for new buildings that can be passed into operation.
Commitment 4: Ensure that voices and safety of residents, visitors and employees are central to our decision-making process
- Establish a single accountable person for each building who residents can contact with queries and concerns
- Ensure that meaningful consultations with residents are undertaken before any material changes to their buildings
- Developing an open and no-blame reporting and feedback process to allow opportunities for improvements in safety to be captured
Commitment 5: Set out and communicate clear responsibilities within our organisation and with our partners, ensuring everyone with a stake in the building design, construction and occupation understands their role and has the time and resources they need to achieve and maintain building safety
- Ensure that there is a board-level commitment to putting building safety first
- Defining clear roles and responsibilities within teams and with the supply chain, including building in good quality assurance to ensure a good outcome
- Invest in training and continuing professional development – both within the company and with supply chain partners
The Charter is not only a way to make buildings safer but also a vehicle for increasing understanding of why specific measures are put in place, to begin with.
By following the Charter and having a proactive approach to building safety, you’ll be able to make your budget go further by avoiding any expensive retrofits in the long run and ensuring compliance.