COVID-19 may have long-term impact on building safety, says Hackitt-led group

The Industry Safety Steering Group (ISSG), chaired by Dame Judith Hackitt, has said it is ‘concerned’ that the coronavirus epidemic might have a long-term impact on building safety.

The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government founded the ISSG in October 2019 to oversee and scrutinise industry bodies’ work in progressing a safer construction industry.

In a report to ministers, the ISSG said it was worried about the amount of time it was taking companies and organisations to embrace a more stringent safety regime.

The group said there were ‘many’ organisations and individuals in the construction industry who were not prioritising building safety, adding that many who were ‘have shown a reticence to take imminent action’.

"We are starting to see better practice but are still frustrated by the fact that too many claim they are waiting to be told what to do in legislation before making changes," the report said.

"No one should need to wait to be told to behave responsibly."

The ISSG is also concerned that the damage caused to balance sheets as a result of the virus will delay ‘culture change’ in the industry.

"Our fear is that the expected economic downturn could result in corners being cut once more and commercial pressure being used as the excuse for further poor practice and delay," the report said.

This article has been adapted from an article in Architects' Journal by Will Ing. The original can be found here.

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COVID-19 Building Safety