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Grenfell Tower public inquiry holds first hearings

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The Grenfell Tower Public Inquiry has begun its first procedural hearing today in central London 

The inquiry, chaired by retired judged Martin Moore-Bick, will examine the circumstances leading up to and surrounding the fire at Grenfell Tower in June, which claimed the lives of 71 people. 

It will have two phases, to begin concurrently: one to report by Easter, addressing the urgency of preventing a similar fire elsewhere; the other longer term and so able to be more thorough. Both will establish the facts and will make recommendations as to the action needed to avoid another such tragedy. 

Last month, the inquiry issued an update announcing the appointment of three assessors, whose job it will be to advise the chair, including civil engineer David Nethercot, who will look at Grenfell Tower’s design, construction and refurbishment. 

The other two assessors are Joyce Redfearn, previously chief executive at Wigan Council, who will examine best practice among local authorities regarding the services procured during the design and construction of residential buildings, and Joe Montogomery, chief executive for Urban Land Institute’s Europe branch, who will look at issues relating to community engagement and management of social housing. 

The inquiry update also included information on the ‘core participants’, who will provide opening statements highlighting particular evidence or any aspects of the inquiry that affects them. It stated that, out of 545 applications received for the core-participant role, 393 had been approved. In addition, 25 organisations and professional bodies have also been granted core participant status.

The RIBA has confirmed that it applied to be one of these 25 bodies, but that its application was rejected. 

The inquiry’s terms of reference were published on 15 August, but were criticised by the RIBA for not examining the ‘overall regulatory and procurement context’ for the UK construction industry. The institute also produced a written submission for the Grenfell Tower Public Inquiry consultation.

The procedural hearing will be held across the course of today and tomorrow in Holborn Bars. It is open for the public to attend and is also being live-streamed on the inquiry YouTube channel

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