Hackitt praises housing trust for building safety strategy

Dame Judith Hackitt

Dame Judith Hackitt, who led the government’s independent review of Building Regulations and fire safety after the Grenfell Tower disaster has praised the Trafford Housing Trust for its approach to building and fire safety.

The Trust established a dedicated Building Safety Team in 2018, becoming one of only a small number of social housing providers to have a specialist team.

In a letter to the Trust, Hackitt, chair of the Industry Safety Steering Group, said she was: “So impressed by what we heard from you, that I have already begun to use you as an exemplar when talking to others. We have heard from others that the role of building safety manager may prove to be difficult, but your positive approach to this suggests otherwise.”

Commenting on the success of the introduction of safety managers, the letter continued by asking whether the Trust could “share best practice… and second your building safety managers to other organisations?”

Hackitt added: “I once again commend you for the great work you have done so far and the example that you are showing for the rest of the industry.”

Larry Gold, CEO of Trafford Housing Trust, said: “The safety and security of our customers is our number one priority, so it was a great testament to the work that the teams have carried out over the last few years to be praised by someone of Dame Hackitt’s stature and experience. We will continue to invest in new measures and methods to keep improving our building and fire safety procedures.

“An example of our industry-leading approach to fire safety came last year when we became the first organisation in the UK to achieve a new British Standard in fire safety: the recently introduced BS9997 standard was awarded after our Fire Risk Management Systems passed a rigorous series of inspections.”

Rosalind Thorpe, director of education and standards at the Chartered Institute of Building (CIOB), said: “We welcome the government’s praise for the approach that Trafford Housing Trust have taken to building safety and their support and input to developing the CIOB Diploma in Building Safety Management. The forum chaired by CIOB member Iain Wallace MCIOB for building safety managers helps disseminate best practice in the field and is key to preparing building owners for the provisions within the Building Safety Bill.”

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  1. Building Safety Managers post development have to be a good thing. However, is anyone considering stage one – the management of building safety when the designs are boing put together. Building Safety Management should be a legal duty placed on those commissioning buildings or building work. When I identified fire related Building Regulation shortfalls in designs a developer was putting out to tender, the in-house project manager (who holds a very senior position in the industry) said it wasn’t their concern but rather it will be the D&B contractor’s problem. The instigator of work must be held to account for safety at the outset of what he commissions.

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