Conscious that there may be a major regeneration of the Cambridge Road Estate, Kingston and Surbiton CLP, led by local member Robin Marsden, passed a motion seeking to ensure that building standards should once again be the responsibility of the local authority.
One of the worrying facts to emerge from the Grenfell Tower disaster is that what used to be the oversight of building standards by the local authority has now become a system of self-certification by the builder. It also revealed the confusion over standards. It does appear that regulations have not kept pace with changes and developments in construction materials and methods.
We saw that regulation of financial institutions became self-regulation and we all experienced the 2008 world financial collapse. We are now becoming aware that self-regulation is becoming the norm in the building industry and the tragedy of Grenfell is the result. Self-regulation, it would seem, has too often lead to standards slipping, corners being cut, and out-dated regulations being in force long after they are no longer appropriate.
The motion passed is as follows:
Kingston & Surbiton CLP urges the Labour Party to adopt a policy of placing Building Regulation and Control under the complete charge of the local authority, as it used to be, giving no choice for appointing a non-council body to conduct such Regulation and Control.
Further, the whole process of design of any public building, its suitability for its specific purpose, specification of construction material, method of construction, health and safety, planning and development and the final oversight of all building regulations must be made completely transparent, with an agreed, logical step-by-step approach, at all stages. These processes from the inception to the completion of a building should be overseen and checked by the local authority.
Furthermore, all these processes, specifications, health and safety regulations and fire regulations should be urgently reviewed now. They should continue to be reviewed from time to time to ensure the pursuit of best practice and public safety.