‘We do not understand that mindset,’ group chaired by Judith Hackitt admits

A committee set up to oversee the transition to a new building safety regime has criticised developers for proceeding with buildings designed to older standards.  

In its fourth report to the housing secretary, the Industry Safety Steering Group (ISSG) said that while it had seen good examples of best practice, there were actors that “still need to do a lot more to commit to building safety”. 

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The steering group is chaired by Dame Judith Hackitt

The group, which was established in 2018 and is chaired by Dame Judith Hackitt, said it was “deeply concerned by the actions of some developers where we have seen hard evidence of them continuing to proceed without considering safety in the early stages of a building’s design and continuing with the construction of buildings to standards which they know will change very soon”. 

The report continued: “Not only is it disappointing that they are failing to ‘do the right thing’ but we do not understand the mindset when they may well face serious challenge from the regulator before the building is handed over for occupation and/or they may be creating future need for remediation work.” 

It welcomed some progress in the broader transition to a new safety regime, including the publication of the Morrell/Day report on product safety, and said it was working with the financial community to explore how it might influence developers to behave more responsibly. 

It also criticised the sector for a lack of “real substantive ownership and leadership”. 

The group said it observed a “widespread culture of reliance” with businesses “expecting to be told step-by-step by government and the regulator how to keep buildings safe”. 

It added: “Continuing to wait for the regulations or assessors to ‘catch them out’ or highlight grave errors still seems to be the norm,” it said, accusing some of exhibiting an approached focused on minimal compliance. 

“It is deeply disappointing to see and hear of examples of developers proceeding with the build of high-rise buildings with single staircases simply because the plans were passed ahead of the new planning gateway.  

“Actions like this show little regard for the future gateways in the process which they know are coming.”