Grenfell reveals more fire safety issues

It has been stated by experts that the stripping of Grenfell-style cladding from hundreds of buildings across the UK has revealed a catalogue of fire safety issues that were hidden from view.

Evidence that has been seen by The Times this week have indicated that many construction projects were signed off as safe, when in fact, they failed to meet fire safety requirements under building regulations. The evidence includes the absence of fire barriers built into the cladding system, the absence of coverings on vents to prevent fire spread and the use of products that are not deemed safe as part of the building project.

The photographic evidence was submitted to the British Board of Agrement (BBA) - the board that issues compliance certificates. This suggests that around 30 buildings would still fail regulations even after the cladding is removed and that hundreds of other towers could be affected. As a consequence, the BBA is calling for all tall buildings that have had cladding retrofitted to be inspected by independent experts as part of a public report.

Claire Curtis-Thomas from the BBA has stated that they have clear photographic evidence that the original substructures onto which the cladding was fixed do not meet building standards and that this seems common. She says that the explanations given by those involved in the original projects (including local authorities and councils) are not reassuring and that the fact the remedial work is being carried out by those same organizations is akin to “marking your own homework”.

The government has said that they acted quickly to establish a testing programme and guidance has been issued, as well as an independent review of building and fire regulations. They say that building owners should employ competent experts to advise them.