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April 21, 2020

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High-risk buildings: Calls for new safety standards to be incrementally extended

Family-owned construction firm Beard has called for new Government safety standards to be applied across all high-risk buildings over the next few years.

The Government’s plans, confirmed earlier this month by Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick, include compulsory installation of sprinkler systems and clearer emergency signing for residential buildings above 11 metres.

Mark Beard, Chairman of Beard, believes that the Government should go further: “Safety of building occupants ought to be at the top of everyone’s list when it comes to construction.

“In the wake of the Grenfell Tower disaster, the focus has rightly been on high-rise residential buildings. The new measures proposed by the Government go a long way to addressing the issues exposed by that calamity and I look forward to seeing them enacted.

“But all building occupants need to be safe and feel safe, regardless of use. The Government has said it will look at extending the scope of safety standards during the passage of the relevant legislation. I would strongly welcome such a move, with initial focus on the highest risk buildings.”

Mark highlights that such an approach needs to be practical and have wider industry buy-in: “The industry itself needs to take responsibility for ensuring these standards are rigorously applied in practice. This means getting it right first time, not waiting for enforcement action to be taken.

“At the end of the day all our reputations are at stake.”

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