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Grenfell Tower report

The phase one of the Grenfell inquiry has covered the events on the night. According to the report by the inquiry chaired by Sir Martin Moore-Bick, the June 2017 fire in west London was started by an electrical fault in a large fridge-freezer in a flat. That was considered to be of less importance than ‘establishing how the failure of a common domestic appliance could have had such disastrous consequences’. Phase two of the inquiry is focusing on the remainder of the issues and hearings are expected to begin in early 2020.

The British Safety Council says that it welcomes recommendations of the report relating to proactive fire door inspections, enhanced firefighting lift inspections and a significant increase in the provision of information to the fire enforcing authority.

James Lewis, Head of Audit and Consultancy at the British Safety Council, said: “In course of our extensive work with owners and managers of property, we have seen countless examples of failure to maintain fire safety standards at the required levels. All too often, we see fire doors left un-managed and damaged, a resistance from building owners and operators to communicate and cooperate with the fire enforcing authority, as well as failures to provide suitable and sufficient information to buildings’ occupiers.”

The British Safety Council welcomes the following recommendations from the executive summary of the report and calls for the government to consider:

Section 6, A and B – Legal requirement for the provision of up-to-date plans to the local fire and rescue service and provision of premises information boxes,
Section 7, A and B – Legal requirement for enhanced checks of firefighting lifts and provision of information to the local fire and rescue service,
Section 12, D – Provision (for all existing and future buildings) for the local fire and rescue service to send an evacuation signal to all residents of high-rise buildings,
Section 15, 33:28 – Legal requirement for owners and operators of every residential building to provide information and instruction to residents in a format that can be reasonably understood by all,
Section 16, A and B – Urgent inspection of all fire doors of every residential building which contains separate dwellings, as well as a legal requirement to inspect fire doors on a quarterly basis.

For Labour, Shadow Home Secretary Diane Abbott said: “The sequence of these reports was ill-conceived. Trying to explain the events of that terrible night without examining key issues about how we got there was mistaken. There is no explanation as to why Grenfell Tower was wrapped in ultra-flammable cladding or who was responsible for that.

“Widely repeated statements that it was the fire brigade’s ‘stay put’ policy which led to avoidable deaths are factually incorrect. The coalition government said it would review that policy in 2014, after the Lakanal House disaster. But there has been no published review and ‘stay put’ remains government policy to this day. Until these two issues are addressed there will be no justice for Grenfell and future disasters of this type are possible.”

For phase one of the report visit https://www.grenfelltowerinquiry.org.uk/.


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