Sub-contracting weakens building regulations - report finds


A number of expert reports into the Grenfell Tower tragedy that have been published as part of the Hackitt review and subsequent inquiries have indicated that subcontracting is making it difficult to get full regulatory oversight during construction.

The reports suggest that there is a climate of fear within the sub-contracting process which could lead to issues with regulatory requirements. This has led to contracting groups questioning the role that Building Control has in the process of sub-contracting.

Rudi Klein from the Specialist Engineering Contractors Group has been reported in the New Civil Engineer as saying that the construction process often does not involve the designer. The contractor is simply told to deliver the work at the best possible price and there is no further oversight. He says that the culture within the industry is the contractor should not question or there could be a risk of losing the contract. This is establishing a climate of fear. He points out that Grenfell should prompt a change in this attitude.

Klein goes on to say that the problems that affected Grenfell are industry-wide and that there is inadequate enforcement of building safety everywhere.

A number of issues with the cladding on the Grenfell Tower have been brought to light in recent inquiries including the fact that no BS8414 tests were carried out and that the cladding used has been found to fail buildings regulations tests in the past.

This view is backed by Fathi Taranda from Mosen who has stated that the regulatory environment has gone wrong. He asks what were building control doing and who gave the contractors approval.

However, it has been conceded that building regulations have been considerably tightened following the fire.