Dame Judith Hackitt provides her thoughts on the Building a Safer Future Charter in her latest contribution to the HSE’s updates.

“I have been saying for some time that industry must not wait for legislation to drive change in the sector and in recent weeks it appears the momentum is really building. We have seen movement on a voluntary programme for improving product information and on the publication of competence standards.

In the next couple of weeks, we will find out who the leaders are within the built environment sector who have been prepared to put their corporate heads above the parapet and sign up to be “Charter Champions” for the Building a Safer Future Charter. I don’t know who will be on the list but I am sure we will be surprised by some who step up and appear on the list of Champions – and also by some who are conspicuous by their absence.

For those of you who are not yet aware of the Building a Safer Future Charter, it has been created to promote an urgent and positive culture and behaviour change in the safety of the built environment. It is about putting people’s safety first in how buildings are planned for, designed, built, and maintained. The BSF Charter is an independent not-for-profit organisation.

Those who sign up to it will need to demonstrate good practice and will have to submit themselves to an audit process to independently verify their practices. The Charter has an essential role to play in helping to facilitate culture change and drive development and learnings around a collaborative community of those committed to putting people’s safety first.

Voluntary programmes do not replace the need for regulation and neither do those who sign up for them expect – or get – any “free passes” from regulators but they are an important step in rebuilding confidence and trust.

The impending launch will be timely following on closely from Government’s announcement  this week of plans for Planning Gateway One to be introduced in August for all future high rise residential buildings.

So, we should applaud the Charter Champions and also constructively challenge those who are not yet signed up to do so.

Once in a generation change in regulation is coming and the first impacts of that will be felt within weeks. Committing to do the right thing ahead of regulation makes sense for every business.”

FIS has signed the charter and hosted a webinar with Amanda Long, CEO of the Building a Safer Future Charter – listen again here.

More information on the Building a Safer Future Charter can be found here.