Hackitt & how the independent construction assessor role will provide assurance to your projects

With the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities (DLUHC) due to consult in Spring on its proposals for implementing the findings of the Hackitt Review, APSL Group Managing Director, Chris Hall, gives his views about the likely changes to regulations and their implications.

In Spring 2022, the DLUHC is planning to consult on its proposals for implementing Hackitt.  We understand the department is likely to propose amendments to the CDM regulations for the design and construction phases of a building’s life cycle and a Building Safety Registration System for buildings in occupation.

A new general duty of ‘promoting building safety and the safety of persons in and about buildings’ is likely to apply through design, construction and occupation. This general duty is an evidential test, applying to all those involved in the building before, during and after construction.

Demonstrable support for the general duty is likely to draw incentives and where the regulator can demonstrate the general duty has been undermined, it will have the power to intervene. Interventions will be designed with the objective of securing compliance and ensuring the general duty is promoted through, for example, remediation of a building safety risk.

As a result, dutyholders will need to compile evidence of due diligence to demonstrate to the regulator that they are proactively promoting the general duty. Dutyholders and the

regulator may consider that an Independent Construction Assessor will be one way to: mitigate the risk of the construction of the project falling short of its design; demonstrate to

the regulator that construction has been overseen by a demonstrably competent, independent professional, and receive assurance that the construction meets building regulations and the requirements of the design.

In occupation, the dutyholder may wish to develop their evidence of due diligence to demonstrate to the regulator that they are promoting the general duty by asking an Independent Construction Assessor to sign a statement confirming that any maintenance work undertaken meets professional standards and the requirements set out in the documentation wherein it was instructed and specified.

It is likely that the DLUHC will propose that the dutyholder requirement applies to all types of building.  The Independent Construction Assessor’s role will be to support the client in ensuring continuity of oversight through the life of the project.  Key attributes of the Independent Construction Assessor must be the ability to engage as far as is resonably practicable in a way that it has no conflict of interest. For example, the assessor should not be employed by the contractor.

Ultimately, an Independent Construction Assessor should engaged by the client to:

  • Assemble evidence – on items including design, regulations and maintenance regimes
  • Engage early (from design stage)
  • Act with authority – providing recommendations to the contractor and client regarding best practice improvements
  • Carry professional indemnity insurance which is independent of all other parties
  • Act on any type of project including new build, refurbishment and change of use

To learn more about our Independent Construction Assessor service, please contact us.