Grenfell Report Calls For Radical Changes To Building Regulations

Grenfell disaster probe 'finds race to the bottom' in buildings safety practices

Grenfell disaster probe 'finds race to the bottom' in buildings safety practices

The independent review of building regulations, conducted following the Grenfell tragedy, has stopped short of proposing a ban on flammable cladding.

In the United Kingdom, a review into the Grenfell Tower fire says radical changes are needed to fix what's been called the "broken" system of building regulations.

But according to a source briefed on the findings, her report stops short of calling for significant changes to the existing regulations. She is also expected to urge the government to move rapidly.

She said: "I would hope that when they see the content of my report and when they read all of the changes that I want to make to this system to make it more robust, that they will recognise that it is about more than simply issuing a ban on certain materials".

"If her thought process is to make these materials hard to be used then why not just ban them?" she said.

Grenfell Tower, a 24-storey social housing block, was engulfed in flames after fire broke out in the middle of the night on 14 June 2017. "The cladding needs to be taken down immediately".

An aluminium cladding with a flammable plastic core is thought to have contributed to the rapid spread of the fire. The system was approved by the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea's building inspectors after 16 visits.

According to BBC News, Dame Judith's appointment to lead the review had been met with some criticism due to her former role as director of the Energy Saving Trust.

The UK's highly complex building regulations system runs to over 1,600 pages.

The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government declined to comment before the review publication. In the aftermath of the fire, Wandsworth has had to reserve £30 million of resources for the replacing of cladding and the installation of sprinklers.

He added: "We are consulting on significantly restricting or banning the use of desk-top studies to assess cladding systems".

During Prime Minister's Questions this week Theresa May told MPs: "I can today confirm that the Government will fully fund the removal and replacement of unsafe cladding by councils and housing associations, estimated at £400m".

During this time council leader Ravi Govindia, together with council officers, has been in regular contact with ministers and civil servants, strongly making the case that councils should get additional funding to assist with these urgent works.

The government is clear that building owners in the private sector must ensure private sector homes are made safe.

Labour welcomed the funding announcement, but said it should not have taken so long.

Wandsworth's cabinet member for housing Councillor Kim Caddy, said: "This is excellent news and I am delighted that the Government has agreed to meet these costs".

The government has also admitted that many survivors of the Grenfell fire will still be living in emergency accommodation such as hotels 12 months after the disaster. "And the housing secretary will set out further details later this week".

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