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Author of Grenfell Tower Fire Report to Speak in Belfast

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Author of Grenfell Tower Fire Report to Speak in Belfast

Author of Grenfell Tower Fire Report to Speak in Belfast
February 26
14:32 2020

The author of the Grenfell Tower Fire Report, Dame Judith Hackitt DBE (pictured), is to speak at a major construction industry conference in Belfast on 2 April. The event is being organised by the Construction Professionals’ Council of Northern Ireland (CIPCNI) in response to the issues raised in her report, commissioned following the tragic Grenfell Tower fire of 2017.

The report exposed systemic failures in the construction industry and stated that the current building regulatory system is “not fit for purpose.” The conference will examine the areas it raises about competence and culture within the sector.

Also speaking will be two leading and highly respected professionals within the industry – Graham Watts OBE, Chief Executive of the Construction Industry Council and Chair of Competence Steering Group who published a response to the Hackett Report called ‘Raising the Bar’, and Professor John Cole CBE, Chair of the review panel of Building Standards Compliance and Enforcement in Scotland.

Chair of CIPCNI, Denise McMahon said: “This will be a very important event for all those involved in our industry. No one can deny the complexity or enormity of the challenge. It is not a building regulation issue to be treated in isolation. It requires systemic change and the findings of the Hackitt Report need to be addressed in a Northern Ireland context. We would invite all the major stakeholders from government through to developers, cont​ractors, construction and legal professionals and industry representative bodies to show our collective responsibility for new thinking and responsible action​s by attending this event.

The conference will ​take place at the Hilton Hotel Belfast from 12.30 onwards. Booking is available via www.eventbrite.com from mid-February onwards.

The Construction Professionals Council for Northern Ireland is the umbrella organisation for most of professional bodies in the construction sector in Northern Ireland with a collective membership of over 9,000 professionals. It acts in the interests of its constituent members to promote best practise in the procurement of professional services; providing a strong voice to government on matters that impact the sector. It is committed to ensuring the importance of adhering to high standards of professionalism are understood by all stakeholders within the industry.

Speaker Biographies 

Dame Judith Hackitt is a chemical engineer and is currently Chair of Make UK and Board member of HS2 Ltd. She was made a Dame in the 2015-16 New Year Honours for services to health and safety and engineering, for being a role model for young women. Following the tragic fire which occurred at Grenfell Tower in London, Dame Judith conducted an independent review into Building Regulations and Fire Safety related to high rise buildings for the UK Government. She now chairs the Transition Board which will create the new Building Safety Regulator as part of a major reform programme following her review.

Graham Watts OBE is Chief Executive of CIC and a member of the Industry Response Group, set up by the MHCLG in the immediate aftermath of the Grenfell Tower tragedy and Chaired the Competence Working Group set up to assist Dame Judith Hackitt’s Review of Building Regulations and Fire Safety. Following the report publication, he is now Chair of the Steering Group charged with implementing the recommendations on improving competence for all those engaged in designing, construction, managing and maintaining higher-risk residential buildings. This includes oversight of the competence work being carried out in the Fire and Rescue Services.

Professor John Cole CBE, an architect by profession, is currently an independent consultant, acting primarily as a strategic client adviser on a range of major international public-sector infrastructure projects. John is a member government’s the ‘Industry Safety Steering Group’ and a member of the RIBA ‘Expert Advisory Group on Fire Safety’. In 2016 he chaired the Independent Inquiry and wrote the ‘Report into the Construction of Edinburgh Schools’, which has resulted in an on-going major review of construction. Following the Edinburgh Schools Inquiry, he was asked by the Scottish Government to chair a Review of Compliance with and Enforcement of Building Standards in Scotland. He was also the founder and instigator of the Construction Professionals’ Council N.I.


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