Calls for fresh start on construction regulations following Grenfell fire

Unite is calling for a radical new approach to regulations and safety laws, following the Grenfell Tower fire.

Unite has three key demands: an overhaul of building regulations; the end of attacks on existing regulations; and the implementation of a licensing regime across the industry.

Unite said building regulations must place safety first rather than profit at its core; as well as a complete prohibition on flammable materials in buildings, Unite supports the installation of sprinklers in all new social housing and public buildings. 

Unite further supports the retrofitting of sprinklers in existing buildings at the earliest possible opportunity.

Unite is calling for the introduction of a licensing system to be introduced across all construction trades. This would be in line with the existing gas engineers licence scheme operated by Gas Safe, which means that it is illegal for non-licensed practitioners to undertake such work. 

In addition, all construction companies should be registered in order to undertake public sector contracts. 

Unite also supports the scrapping of both the government’s Red Tape Initiative which is seeking ‘easy wins’ to scrap European Union regulations as part of the Brexit process and the government’s current one in three out policy on the introduction of new regulations. 

The government is cutting the HSE’s budget by 46% by 2020 compared to the funding it received in 2010.

Unite national officer for construction Bernard McAulay said: “We now need to have a major sea change in the way that we view regulations. Rather than a knee jerk reaction to cutting red tape we should be educating people to understand that properly enforced laws and building regulations are essential in ensuring safety.”