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MPs ask construction industry: ‘What regs changes could stop another Grenfell?’

1200px grenfell tower fire (wider view)

MPs are to quiz construction industry experts on what immediate changes should be made to Building Regulations to make residential tower blocks safe

The Housing, Communities and Local Government Committee hearing will follow last week’s publication of Judith Hackitt’s post-Grenfell review of Building Regulations, which was criticised for failing to recommend a ban on combustible cladding on high-rise towers.

The committee said that it would take evidence on changes that could be made quickly to improve residents’ safety in such buildings.

Committee chair Clive Betts said: ‘While we agree with the review that there needs to be a shift in culture in the building industry, it is vital that the government moves quickly to implement immediate changes to improve the safety of tower blocks.

‘We want to find out what needs to be done now, such as the banning of combustible cladding, as well as ways of changing the long-term approach of the industry.’

He said that by taking evidence before the summer recess, the committee hoped the government would be able to consider the findings as part of its consultation on banning cladding, which was announced after the outcry following the Hackitt report.

The committee plans to hear from representatives from the construction industry, fire safety experts, and other stakeholders as well as the government.

After the review was published, the committee wrote to housing secretary James Brokenshire, calling for an immediate ban on the use of combustible cladding in high-rise buildings.


Readers' comments (3)

  • Gerard Kelly

    I may have missed it, but I do not think anyone has yet mentioned the total lack of fire breaks (cavity barriers) and how this omission may have exacerbated the situation which led to this dreadful loss of life. The Building Regulations (diagram 12 in Approved Document B1 requires cavity barriers even in cavity walls where both leaves are e.g. brickwork or concrete blockwork. It is too easy to blame the insulation; there is far more to it.

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  • To add to Gerard Kelly's comment, there's also the pressing question of exactly how the stairwell became a deathtrap.
    But then, the government minister who's been criticised for doing no more than 'talk the talk' following the preceding and very relevant Lakanal House tragedy has just been elevated to the House of Lords, so it's no wonder that the survivors of Grenfell Tower fear that it might be 'business as usual' in due course.

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  • Frances Maria

    Gerard and Robert - both of you make valid points to which I can make further comments. The lack of cavity barriers has already been picked up on, and there is a lot going on in the background which has not at this stage been made public. There are many problems associated with the cladding system; in general it was badly designed and badly installed. This will all come out during the hearings of the Inquiry eventually.
    With regard to Lakanal House - it is my view that there is much about this fire that is not fully understood, as well as the obvious lessons which were not learned. It therefore needs to be thoroughly reviewed and reconsidered. Additional research is also required.

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