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November 12, 2021

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Building Safety

High rise residential buildings: Preliminary serious incident scenarios and potential control measures

Following the Grenfell Tower disaster, the Independent Review of Building Regulations and Fire Safety concluded that the UK building safety system is inadequate. The Government accepted the review’s recommendation for a new regulatory framework. A Joint Regulators’ Group, including the Health and Safety Executive, is assisting in the transition to this proposed framework. 

The HSE has issued a research report which describes research, done in 2019, for the Joint Regulators’ Group.  

The research aims to identify a preliminary set of representative serious incident scenarios for high rise residential buildings, and potential control measures.

The researchers:  

  • Reviewed the literature on high rise building incidents, and the regulation of major rail and industrial incidents;
  • Conducted workshops to extract critical knowledge from sector representatives.  

The research team has experience in safety case regimes, risk management, building construction, and fire. They used formal risk analysis techniques (‘HAZID’ and ‘bow tie’) to structure the process, and a Hierarchy of Controls approach to rank the effectiveness of potential control measures. They considered rapidly escalating events requiring immediate large scale emergency response.   

The report identifies ten preliminary representative serious incident scenarios.

The potential control measures identified for consideration include:  

  • Establishing a safety regime based on assessment of serious incident scenarios 
  • Development of an initial safety narrative for each building 
  • Near-miss incident recording 
  • Guidance for duty holders 
  • Strong and committed leadership from dutyholders, the wider sector, and the future regulator.  

These findings are being used to inform the development of a risk framework for the proposed new safety case regime. 

To access the full HSE report, click here.

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