Pair joined by Wates, Willmott Dixon and L&Q in initiative

Dame Judith Hackitt - CABE

The country’s biggest housebuilder and second-biggest contractor are among those firms that have signed up to the government’s ‘early adopters’ programme to trial new systems ahead of changes to the building regulations following this year’s Hackitt review.

On Tuesday, within its response to the review, the government announced that Barratt has been joined by Wates, social housing firm Peabody and United Living as part of an initiative to trial the planned changes.

The four follow Kier which joined the early adopters programme back in July along with Willmott Dixon and housing associations L&Q and Salix Homes.

The firms will work with the Joint Regulators Group, who are looking at ways to actively monitor building safety in the construction industry following last year’s Grenfell tower fire in west London.

Joint Regulators Group

Existing regulators and public bodies will work together, and with firms, to look at how safety standards in the construction industry can be better regulated. The bodies are:

Health and Safety Executive

Local Authority Building Control

Fire and rescue services - through the National Fire Chiefs Council

Local Government Association

The firms have signed a Building Safety Charter in which they “demonstrate their commitment to spearhead a culture change and put safety first”.

They are also trying new document management systems for buildings in their portfolios and trialling technologies to better manage their supply chains and establish a record of a building’s make-up.

This includes use of BIM to manage the supply chain and maintain a ‘golden thread’ of information, a key recommendation of Dame Judith Hackitt (pictured).

In September, Willmott Dixon launched an app to keep 600 sub-contractors up-to-date with new policies and regulations.

The government also said progress had been made by the ‘competence steering group’ set up in June. The group of industry representatives are tasked with developing proposals for a regulator to ensure the competence of those working on buildings.

The final proposals are expected to be put forward next April with the government then expected to consider industry proposals and decide whether legislation is needed to underpin a new system to ensure compliance.