The British Woodworking Federation, whose members manufacture approaching three million fire doors in the UK each year, has welcomed Dame Judith Hackitt’s interim recommendations on the regulatory structure, however, it has called for the establishment of a Building Safety Fund.
Iain McIlwee, CEO, cautioned that the regulatory framework is only part of the jigsaw, saying: “The elephant in the room is still who is going to pay for these essential works.”
He continues: “Dame Judith urges building owners not to wait until the review is complete. However, as it stands vitally important work is being delayed due to financial considerations. We are calling for the Treasury to make an allocation for long term and potentially life-critical works by creating a Building Safety Fund (similar to the Pension Protection Fund). This will offer a solution to the current predicament of Housing Associations and Local Authorities, providing them with a scheme to apply to for compensation to support replacement and repair cost. The Fund would alleviate concerns from building managers and most importantly, tenants, while helping consolidate legal matters through a centrally controlled process. Although the cost of this may need to be born through insurance premiums, when we consider the true cost of Grenfell, it is not one that we can responsibly ignore.
“Dame Hackitt has, through this report, made a phenomenal start in pulling all of the complex interrelations together and by defining the roles and responsibilities of duty holders, and competence of individuals, is ensuring people look beyond “their bit” and instead focus on how we deliver successful projects together. We very much look forward to supporting Dame Judith and her team in the next stages and hope that in the meantime, the Chancellor will recognise that we need Treasury to act too to help clear the log jam.”